Why Johnnie Walker is moving away from its ‘corporate’ image in first global campaign

Johnnie Walker has evolved its “Keep walking” tagline with a new global message targeted at engaging younger drinkers by focusing on joy and becoming less corporate as a brand.

The whiskey brand’s emotive new tagline “Joy will take you further” is an evolution of the brand’s longstanding “Keep walking” campaign. It aims to promote the idea that finding joy is part of the recipe for success.

“It’s a moment where we’re going to recruit a new generation of Johnnie Walker drinkers, who will think differently about progress and ultimately the way they’re going to live their lives,” said Johnnie Walker’s global brand director Guy Escolme, speaking at an event in London yesterday (16 September) to launch the campaign.

The campaign launched simultaneously in more than 50 countries, with 70 different pieces of creative to suit the different markets.

Developed in partnership with creative agency Anomaly it will feature a new TV ad, print and digital advertising, point of sale materials, digital content and experiential activity. The brand is also launching a 10-minute film at the Rome Film Festival, which includes some of the brand ambassadors.

To resonate with younger audiences the campaign has also enlisted the help of numerous “brand ambassadors” including actor Jude Law, US rock band OK Go and Chinese actor Zhao Wei.


“All of the creative has been edited in a way that they can culturally resonate. Some markets prefer famous celebrities, while others would rather connect with someone specifically from that market,” David Gates, head of premium core spirits, told Marketing Week.

“One of the things we like about the campaign is that it can be big and epic, and private and intimate as well.”

The brand hopes the campaign will tell the story of the brand and create a better emotional connection with consumers.

“We want to enter through the heart and for people to connect with the brand message,” Gates said.

“We were a bit more secretive about our product in the past and possibly a bit corporate. It’s a combination of emotionally engaging advertising as well as telling the truth in a way that is interesting and relevant.”

  • Do you want to ensure your brand’s multichannel campaign gets the recognition it deserves? Enter the multichannel marketing category in this year’s Masters of Marketing. Go to the Masters site for details of how to enter.

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