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Johnnie Walker encourages audiences to keep walking toward a positive future

The Whisky brand has teamed up with a host of agencies to create an anthem of progress to reinvigorate the hospitality industry post-pandemic

Georgie Moreton

Assistant Editor, BITE

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Johnnie Walker, the world’s number one Scotch Whisky, has launched the next chapter of its ‘Keep Walking’ campaign with a new creative that aims to inspire people to Keep Walking towards a more positive future.

For more than 20 years, the brand’s ‘Keep Walking’ advertising has aimed to inspire people from around the world with a message of progress and positivity. The latest chapter of the campaign falls against the backdrop of a world emerging from the pandemic and therefore aims to inspire people to get out and go as the world gradually reopens after the difficult 18 months.

“Keep Walking'' are two little words that say so much about positivity, possibility and resilience. After everything we’ve all been through in the past few years, we can’t imagine a time in recent history when those sentiments could be more relevant,” says Julie Bramham, Johnnie Walker Global Brand Director.

The new TV and digital ad has been directed by Glen Luchford, who previously led campaigns for world-leading fashion houses, and features an energetic and vibrant ‘Anthem’ that seeks to get people back on their feet and moving again. The anthem is an infectious, feel-good mash-up of famous songs about walking, created to coincide with the theme of the campaign and put a spring back in people’s step as they head back into the world once again. 

The fun mash-up includes samples of songs including Run DMC and Aerosmith’s Walk this Way, Loretta Lynn’s version of the iconic These Boots Are Made for Walking and Lou Reed’s 1970s’ classic Walk on the Wild Side.

This campaign follows on from $100m of investment from parent company Diageo over the past 18 months to help pubs and bars post-pandemic recovery, supporting jobs and communities around the world through their Raise The Bar programme.

“Keep Walking is deeply embedded in the DNA of Johnnie Walker - and breathing new life into it for today's generation, particularly in the context of such challenging times, is a very special task.” explains Camilla Harrisson, CEO and Partner, Anomaly London, “This campaign infuses Keep Walking with a new vibrant, inclusive spirit and celebrates - both visually and musically - the iconic role of walking in culture.”

Working with agency partners, Anomaly, Analog Folk, PHD, Smarts and Virtue the 360, the campaign also sees a series of in-market talent and influencer partnerships that will drive actions that ‘walk the walk’. In over 20 countries around the world artists such as DJ Alok (Brazil), CL (Korea) and Alfonso Herrera (Mexico) will team up with Johnnie Walker to help reinvigorate social spaces like bars, clubs and venues as the world begins to reopen to inject life back into the hospitality sector.

The Johnnie Walker brand has been committed to a ‘spirit of progress’ and moving forward for over two centuries. This new segment of the Keep Walking campaign aims to help inspire people to take their own next step, reflecting the words and thoughts of cultural icons and pioneers who share that same spirit.

Alongside the Anthem, Johnnie Walker will unveil out-of-home city takeovers, projecting inspiring quotes from cultural trailblazers, over skylines and cultural hotspots around the world. The quotes are from the likes of Grace Jones, Mark Twain and Ayrton Senna and will be seen across New York City, Mexico City, Cape Town, Tokyo and Bangkok amongst others.

Julie Bramham, Global Brand Director at Johnnie Walker, explained:  “Johnnie Walker has always been defiantly optimistic and a beacon of progress - that’s what Keep Walking is all about.”

A case for creative optimism that the hospitality industry will no doubt welcome in the wake of the pandemic.