- Diageo-owned Scotch whisky brand Johnnie Walker launched a multichannel campaign aimed to inspire people to reenter society confidently, according to a press release. The effort is the latest iteration of the brand's global "Keep Walking" campaign that has run for more than 20 years, per the release.
- Headlining the creative is a 30-second mash-up of energetic, walking-themed music that will run across TV and digital. Johnnie Walker will also project inspirational quotes from cultural trailblazers on billboards in New York City, Mexico City, Cape Town, Tokyo, Bangkok and other cultural hotspots.
- Rounding out the campaign will be local partnerships with change-makers and artists around the world to help revitalize social spaces including bars, pubs and venues. The effort's approach sees the Scotch whisky marketing around positivity while updating a legacy message to spur consumers back to their watering holes.
Johnnie Walker's new creative refashions a long-running campaign with optimistic messaging about a return to socializing. "Keep Walking" has been a part of the brand's marketing for 20 years, and has seen previous evolutions in order to appeal to new generations of consumers. The latest shape of the campaign seeks to inspire all consumers to keep moving toward a positive future after 18 months of the COVID-19 pandemic. An anthem spot embodies this messaging via a mashup featuring walking-themed music from Run DMC and Aerosmith ("Walk This Way"), Loretta Lynn ("These Boots Are Made for Walkin") and Lou Reed ("Walk on the Wild Side").
Brands over the past year have displayed a range of optimism for the reopening of society. Pepsi and Dos Equis, for example, demonstrated a similar eagerness for normalcy as Johnnie Walker in its latest campaign. Yet as the delta variant continues to affect the country and vaccination rates stall, some brands have walked back their optimism. Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical officer to the president, recently showed hesitancy as to whether Americans should plan to gather during the upcoming holiday season.
Other campaign elements, such as billboard projections of inspirational quotes from figures like Grace Jones, Mark Twain and Ayrton Senna, could widen the reach of "Keep Walking." The method could be especially effective in crowded cities and cultural hotspots now that many consumers are out of their homes again.
While the campaign aims for global engagement, the partnerships with change-makers could localize the impact of the campaign. These efforts to help reinvigorate social spaces in over twenty countries sees Johnnie Walker attempting to "walk the walk," per the press release — a turn of phrase that nods both to the campaign's ambulatory theme and the brand's hope to drive real results around the world.
"Keep Walking" arrives just over a month after Johnnie Walker opened its visitor attraction in Edinburgh, Scotland. The property, which cost over £185 million ($251.7 million), is an effort by parent company Diageo to lure back consumers to Scotch whisky tourism, which attracted a record-high 2.16 million visitors in 2019, per the BBC.
The campaign also follows previous efforts by Diage to aid local establishments through the pandemic. The alcohol giant has invested $100 million in bars and pubs over the past 18 months through its Raise The Bar program, per the release. Diageo also unveiled a social media marketing tool this summer for establishments in Great Britain and Ireland, as well as Australia and various countries in the EU.