Johnnie Walker: 2005 Effie Award Winner

November 15, 2005

The Johnnie Walker "Keep Walking" campaign was created to catapult the Johnnie Walker brand out of the clichés of scotch category with its corresponding volume decline, and into the broader realm of cultural relevance. By engaging the target consumer in a dialogue about the true meaning of personal progress, Johnnie Walker was able to connect with the lifestyle and mindset of young men in transition.

The "Keep Walking" campaign dramatically exceeded expectations by grabbing the target's attention and driving double digit gains in awareness of the Striding Man, while simultaneously significantly increasing the brand's association with the intended key brand benefit, personal progress.


The Johnnie Walker brand became irrelevant as the scotch category experienced a 20% decline between 1950 and 2000.

In the past, scotch was a drink that marked success, usually associated to older individuals, which established the old cliché that needed to be shed in order for the Johnny Walker brand to be reinvigorated.


Diageo was tasked with finding a new way to make scotch relevant to new drinkers. The objective: to recruit new drinkers. This was quite challenging as the underlying task was to redefine success, for the 25-34 year-old men target. To better understand this target market, Diageo conducted more qualitative and informal research. It wasn't a new target, so quantitative data was already gathered.

The Striding Man icon was turned, now walking forward toward success. And the "Keep Walking" campaign was born. This affected everything from communications to napkins, jerseys, and icons. The campaign stressed to its target that now the journey is more important than the end rewards, shifting from status to personal progress.


The EFFIE Award winning ads include:

  • The Times Square (Spot Light ad)
  • Los Angeles (Politician ad--relevant to entertainment/politics)
  • Sports Illustrated (Fracture ad--relevant to sports)

Key to Success: Working well with the media agency. The media was placed properly and planned together by the agency and client.

The "Walking Man" awareness doubled, as did consumption. To add, brand awareness and consumption increased in both Johnnie Walker's general market and its Hispanic segment.

"Encourage people to move forward in life" was also used as a measure in key brand imagery.

The scale used to measure brand commitment included: Adore, Adopt, Accept, Available, Reject.

Vision for the new evolution included:

  • Big (bigger icons made more impact)
  • Witty and clever
  • Simple
  • Inspirational
  • Amplified by media context
  • Express value of personal progress

"Johnnie Walker: 2005 Effie Award Winner." Jen Josephson, Consumer Planning, Diageo; Erin Riley, Account Director, Bartle Bogle Hegarty. ANA Print Advertising Committee Meeting, 11/15/05.