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Get To Know: Jack Daniel’s VP Global Marketing Creative Director Eric Doninger
Find out how this marketing leader's eye for design has helped define one of the world's most well known brands.
As Jack Daniel’s Vice President, Global Marketing Creative Director, Eric Doninger is the creative force behind the Jack Daniel’s Family of Brands.
Tasked with translating the brand’s business and marketing objectives into creative strategies and compelling consumer communications, Doninger oversees advertising, experiential marketing, consumer relationship marketing, social and digital marketing, packaging creative strategy and development, as well as serving as the principal contact for the brand’s global agency relationships.
Joining Brown-Forman in 1999, Doninger most recently held the position of Vice-President, Global Director of Design where he oversaw Brown-Forman’s design and creative capabilities, including brand design strategy, brand identity design, package design, in addition to experiential and corporate workplace design.
While in his previous role at Brown-Forman, Doninger led internal design teams and external agency partners in the redesign of many of the world’s most well-know spirit brands, including Jack Daniel’s, Finlandia Vodka, Herradura, Chambord and Southern Comfort.
Prior to joining Brown-Forman, Doninger was a project manager for Houston-based real estate development firm Hines Interests, where he worked closely with acclaimed architects Robert Stern (Robert A.M. Stern Architects), David Childs (S.O.M.) and Harry Cobb (Pei Cobb Freed & Partners).
A graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia, Doninger holds graduate degrees in business and architecture from the University of Illinois.
He is a current Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of The J.B. Speed Art Museum, a board member of the Fund for the Arts Properties, Inc., and a member of the University of Kentucky College of Design Advisory Board. In addition, Doninger serves as the past president of the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, and a former board member of the Downtown Development Corporation.
A native of Indianapolis, Doninger resides in Louisville with his three children, Lilly (12), Grayson (10) and Charlotte (8).
Vice President Global Marketing Creative Director @ Jack Daniel’s
- Age: 48
- HQ: Louisville, KY
- First Job: Tennis Instructor
- Apple or Android? Apple
- Hobby: Cooking
- First Car: Oldsmobile Cutlass
What mobile device can you not live without?
Can we take a peek at your phone’s home screen?
Which apps do you use most often for work?
Tripcase – it’s tremendously helpful that it captures all itineraries directly from my calendar.
What social media network or website do you frequent most when you’re not working?
Facebook. I enjoy reconnecting with friends from my past who I thought were gone forever. I do forget, however, that I’m friends with my mother, which leads to some interesting conversations.
What’s the first thing you check on your phone in the morning?
Take me through your typical workday.
Every day is different and rarely typical. When I’m not traveling, I drop off my three children at school before 8:00 a.m., and then hit my neighborhood Starbucks where I read emails that have come in overnight from my colleagues overseas.
I’m at my desk usually by 8:15 a.m. and answering emails. From there it could be agency calls to packaging meetings. Every day presents a new challenge.
What has been the most exciting work development during the past year?
Working on my first television commercial for our Jack Daniel’s Sinatra Select product.
How many miles have you traveled in the last 12 months?
I’m on the road about fifty percent of the time and don’t want to know how many miles I’ve logged this year.
My two days in Dubai recently with our local team, learning more about marketing spirits in the Middle East, proved to be a fascinating trip.
What does your desk look like?
Brown-Forman has a tremendous art collection and employees here are fortunate to be surrounded by it.
I also treasure a hand-written note that my eight-year old daughter slipped into my suitcase before a long business trip that I now keep above my computer.
What work challenge keeps you up at night?
How can we create locally relevant work that is produced in market, and is on strategy and visually consistent around the world.
Can you tell us about a campaign or work project you’d like to do over?
In my previous role, we executed a package design or two that looked tremendous on paper and in rendered from, but didn’t have the impact on shelf or on the back bar. I learned the hard way that lighting can make or break a graphics on a bottle.
Tell me about the people who have been most influential in your career.
My father is a tremendous role model, always working hard, extremely competitive and valuing integrity over all else.
I’ve also had many very wise mentors at Brown-Forman that have taught me about our business, leadership and life.
What traits does a person need to succeed in your position?
Keen eye for detail. Flexibility. Ability to listen. And, ability to compromise.
Can you tell us something about yourself that your team would be surprised to know?
I actually enjoy cutting the grass.
Why did you go into marketing?
It was luck. Brown-Forman took a chance on an MBA grad with a Masters in Architecture and allowed me to show how design can build brands. After my role leading our internal design team, I was fortunate to join the Jack Daniel’s global team and have been laser focused on helping build this trademark.
What other career would you like to try and why?
I would go back to my roots in architecture and interior design.
What’s the last business book you read?
The Design of Business by Roger Martin – it’s not the last business book I read, but it’s the one that has really taken root.
Outside of your company’s efforts, what ad campaign or video caught your eye recently?
I enjoyed Allstate’s “Safe in my hands” LGBT campaign. It’s artistic, relevant and on brand strategy – way to go!