Telling the Johnnie Walker story through short films, theatre and events

Earlier this year, Johnnie Walker commissioned Jude Law to appear in a beautifully shot short film called ‘The Gentleman’s Wager’, which saw the actor win a priceless yacht from suave Italian Giancarlo Giannini with a dance. Given that this six-and-a-half-minute spot has already been viewed almost 10 million times since its release in July, it comes as little surprise that the whisky brand is now also experimenting with other forms of content, both online and in the real world. 

This month, the 194-year-old Whisky company released a trailer for another short film, with a link that navigates viewers to the company’s Facebook page to watch its new video. Although much shorter than the Jude Law film, the clip is also a visual treat. Playing out out to a track by Gin Wigmore, the latest addition to Johnnie Walker’s experiments in film features a mysterious hipster-looking protagonist pouring what appears to be paint all over the walls of a room decked out in 1920s decor, before a second character enters and sets everything alight.      


But the brand hasn’t limited its activities to YouTube entertainment. In the UK, Johnnie Walker has also created ‘Symphony in Blue’, “an immersive theatrical experience,” which gives visitors a live journey through the company’s history. As part of this experiential activation, attendees will be treated to live performances in an old London building.    


The Johnnie Walker story has been integral in the company’s marketing for some time now. In 2009, the company also released an over six-minute clip of actor Robert Carlyle walking along the Scottish Highlands telling the story of the brand. 

Johnnie Walker is also extending its marketing activities beyond the remit of elaborate content marketing projects. The company has also actively been attaching its name to events that complement what the brand stands for. Last week, Johnnie Walker sponsored the Idealog Live event, which included a guest-speaking performance by Spark’s chief operating officer Jason Paris. This move was made in an effort to affiliate the brand with the entrepreneurial spirit, which typifies the stories told in Idealog magazine. 

Internationally, the Sctoch whisky brand is also applying this approach by partnering with the Huffington Post for its HuffPost live Series, which will see a range of speakers cover tech-related issues.  

Given the continued segmentation of the media landscape, these unconventional moves are giving the brand a level of exposure that is becoming increasingly difficult to attain via more traditional modes of advertising. 

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