Diageo bids to make Johnnie Walker more accessible

Diageo is launching a marketing campaign to position its new Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve variant as a whisky to be consumed in “high-tempo social” environments in a bid to attract new drinkers to the category.

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The variant launched in the UK earlier this month as an alternative to the brand’s premium Johnnie Walker Blue Label range. Diageo is currently rolling the brand out globally after launching it in Asia, its fastest growing market by sales, last year.

An above the line campaign is being planned for later this year and will target up and coming affluent male and female consumers.

It marks a shift in creative strategy for the Johnnie Walker brand, which has focused its ads around inspirational messages using its “Keep Walking” strapline and the history of the brand in commercials for its other brands.

The manufacturer wants the “celebration blend” to rival champagne in nightclubs and other social environments where whisky isn’t normally consumed.

Kabir Suharan, Johnnie Walker brand ambassador at Diageo, says: We want Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve to appeal to people who don’t like whisky and use it as a way to introduce them to the category as well as the other whiskies under the Johnnie Walker brand.”

Sales of premium whisky blends in both the on and off trade rose 20% in the past year, according to Diageo, outperforming the blended whisky category overall.

Nick Temperley, head of reserve brands at Diageo GB, says: “There is a clear trend in Great Britain of consumers trading up in their choice of spirits and this is having an encouraging effect on the success of the premium blended whisky category.

“By updating the Johnnie Walker range at this key time, we are able to provide our customers with an exciting opportunity to maximise sales and provide a compelling choice of whiskies at diverse price points to meet the evolving tastes of our consumers.”