Johnnie Walker - From Whisky Producer to Global Icon

Story of the film

This film tells the story of how BBH turned Johnnie Walker, into a global icon.  Using ‘walking man’ as their brand mascot, they created an integrated, global campaign which played an enormous part in the campaign’s success. Looking especially at fame, resonance and adoption – they found all three related with consumers, delivering an incremental sales uplift.  


This paper shows how a global campaign transformed Johnnie Walker from an ailing whisky producer into a global icon. In 1999, faced with the steady loss of its market share, Johnnie Walker elevated its communications beyond rational product claims to instead embody the values of personal progress. The 'Keep walking' campaign has made the brand an icon of progress in more than 120 markets worldwide, driving considerable consumer engagement and accelerating growth. The US$2.21 billion of incremental sales generated since the campaign's launch amounts to total sales growth of 48 per cent; growth, which today continues unabated.

Judge's comment

Johnnie Walker

The longevity and global reach of this campaign made a great impact. It was particularly impressive to see existing iconography and brand heritage used as the basis for a revitalised and universal campaign; this is a powerful message for all marketers.

Sir John Sunderland , Former Chairman, Cadbury, and Chairman of Judges

Film contributors

Title correct at the time of publish date

  • Jason Cobbald, Business Director, BBH


Awards: 2008 IPA Effectiveness Awards, Grand Prix, Gold Award

Client: Johnnie Walker

Entrant: BBH

Author: Steve Mustardé

Contributing authors: Karl Weaver, Ashley Alsup, Dorothea Gartland, Orlando Hooper Greenhill, Ben King, Lisa Matchett, Aisling Ryan

Media used: TV, regional newspapers, out of home, cinema, internet, word of mouth, viral, search


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