Case study: Johnnie Walker

Johnnie Walker is probably the best known Diageo brand in Brazil. The company has a global brand platform that it uses for all campaigns in all markets called Keep Walking but the key to implementing it in Brazil was bringing out the local relevance.

When Diageo launched the new Johnnie Walker campaign in October 2011, it tapped into the current feeling of opportunity and growth in the country by using the global strapline to personal effect – Keep Walking Brazil. Further blending the global campaign platform with a local flavour, Diageo picked an idea that tapped into both the geography and aspirational mood of the country. In the TV, print and digital advertising, Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio was depicted as a giant who was waking up and walking into the sea.

Diageo Latin America marketing director Olga Martinez Garcia says: “It was if Brazil itself was awakening and filled with momentum. This concept connects with Brazilian consumers as it is based on a Brazilian legend that also tells the story of a sleeping giant.


“As a brand, you will have to understand and become part of the local culture and blend this with your marketing. When we have implemented Johnnie Walker campaigns in the past we have had to be very careful about tailoring the overall messages of progress to the different regions – in one place this means pride in family and local heritage, in another it is more about individual success.”


However, not all Diageo campaigns are on such a large scale. When promoting its Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project, the company used the social dynamics of Brazilian culture to its advantage and focused on Facebook to drive home its message. Martinez Garcia explains: “The average number of friends of a Brazilian user on Facebook is so much higher than the global average, reflecting the social nature of the culture.

“This was therefore a very powerful network for us in Brazil to create a large fan base of over 1 million people and being able to leverage the event as part of our conversation with them. Understanding the dynamics of the social element was critical for us.”

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