Johnnie Walker

The campaign, launched in September last year, was the brand’s first global effort. It launched simultaneously in more than 50 countries, with 70 different pieces of creative to suit the different markets.

The whisky brand also adopted a new emotive tagline in ‘Joy will take you further’, an evolution of the brand’s long-standing ‘Keep walking’ campaign, which aims to promote the idea that finding joy is part of the recipe for success.

Integration is key

At the time of the campaign launch the brand stated it was keen to appeal to younger drinkers as well as “create talkability”, and according to Escolme both of these goals have been achieved.

“I’ve been particularly happy with our results around increasing brand appeal. It was about recruiting new drinkers into the brand and all the indicators are showing that we’re succeeding against that,” he told Marketing Week.

Escolme says brand research shows that the integrated nature of the campaign has worked most strongly for the brand.

“Our ability to land the message has come from multiple exposures. The fact that this was a globally co-ordinated effort seemed to drive a great deal of momentum,” he said. “We see some of that showing up in the metrics, the sheer reach we have achieved has been important, but in addition to that the engagement rates have also been impressive.”

For example, Johnnie Walker says that its films featuring various global and local brand ambassadors had over 90 million views, while completion rates of ‘Gentleman’s Wager II’ featuring Jude Law were “extraordinary”.

“It all ladders back to launching the campaign on a global level and in an integrated way, which has created a situation where the campaign [as a whole] has had a greater impact than the individual parts,” he explained.

Combining local and global insight

Escolme added that the brand’s ‘Joy will take you further’ philosophy has travelled particularly well, but that the combination of global and local insight has been vital the campaign’s success.

“That insight has a real global applicability – those who find joy in what they do progress the furthest. Then it’s about a combination of bringing that to life with global assets that give a campaign like this stature, but more importantly, use our ability to treat culture as very local as well. So it’s about combining global and local elements,” he said.

Growing confidence around ecommerce

The campaign has also led to various insights around its ecommerce efforts. Driving people to purchase the product online has been an “important” part of the campaign and Escolme said to have seen “dramatic increases” in terms of traffic to the brand’s ecommerce platforms.

Besides running a trial with Amazon in November, Johnnie Walker also included a “click to purchase” feature on its own website. As a result, the brand is slowly gaining more confidence around its online selling efforts.

“I think that we have growing levels of confidence around consumers willingness to buy alcohol online, and in particular ecommerce sites such as Amazon and other keys ones where I didn’t think alcohol would be top of mind with consumers. I think we now have a high level of confidence and that moving forward we can create a breakthrough there,” he said.

Using brand ambassadors

The brand’s global brand director felt that its global and local brand ambassadors also helped the campaign hit home with consumers, as it brought “vibrancy and dimension” to the campaign.

Escolme explained: “The use of our ambassadors across all of our channels and activities seems to have driven a higher degree of reach in the form of earned media.”

“Getting those individuals across the world to tell their stories has been especially powerful. They’ve served to be the living proof or embodiment of the brand [philosophy] which consumers find very credible.”

Guy Escolme, global brand director, Johnnie Walker

Going forward, the brand is determined to tell even more stories around the people who have adopted the brand’s life philosophy in the pursuit of success.

Escolme said: “We see a lot more potential as the campaign has been gaining momentum. In 2016 we want to tell more stories and inspire people to find joy in their journeys. If we can do that as a brand, that would be very exciting.”


The entry deadline for the Marketing Week Awards is the 2nd March. Click here to find out more about the awards, or enter now.