Reviving Johnnie Walker as a Global Brand

Unlikely as it seems today, the Johnnie Walker brand was in decline during the 1990s.

The brand, owned by Diageo, the international drinks group, had lost share and its global sales volumes were also slipping. It needed a strategy to reverse this situation and to provide it with a future-proof approach to creating appealing and consistent communications across its many markets.

This short film describes how this approach was developed by BBH, the UK-headquartered advertising agency, and then put into practice across 120 markets from 1999 onwards.

The centrepiece of the strategy was the message of "Keep Walking" - symbolised by the use of a striding man icon - to link the brand to expressions of personal progress. This idea was reinterpreted for many different TV ads and other articulations across a variety of media channels. 

These ranged from aligning the brand with Chinese New Year to express the progress of a nation to uplifting images regarding teachers in Thailand and Formula 1 Drivers.

The "Keep Striding" philosophy and imagery were also embraced by the company's brand managers and sales partners.

In a detailed case study of the strategy, BBH was able to show that the brand's sales volumes grew by 48% between 1999 and 2007.

During the same period, the brand's sales value also grew by an estimated 94% globally, and it gained almost 6% value share between 2000 and 2007.

The agency also presented evidence - such as comparison of the brands performance in markets where the campaign ran heavily with less involved markets - to discount other possible reasons for this sales success and to establish a clear link between the advertising and the brand's revival.