Ivan Menezes, the global marketing director at UDV, will soon be
spending much of his time attending the various launch parties around
the world for his new Johnnie Walker ad campaign. So it’s lucky that he
enjoys the odd tipple.
’It’s part of the reason I joined,’ he jokes. And, with a plethora of
global brands, including Smirnoff, J&B, Baileys and Gordon’s under his
charge, some first-hand experience of the products is essential.
Menezes has the task of re-energising the Johnnie Walker brand through
the new ’keep walking’ global campaign, developed by Bartle Bogle
Hegarty, which will roll out in 40 countries. It is an ambitious task,
not least because the Scotch whisky market has long suffered from a
fusty image that must be shed in order to reach the lucrative young
But Menezes seems distinctly unfazed by the challenge. It is clear he is
itching to update the brand and is not short of cash to build on its
strong heritage and leadership position: UDV is backing Johnnie Walker
with pounds 100 million.
’With this campaign, we hope to build an emotional bond with the
consumer through the universal territory of inspiring personal
progress,’ he explains. The three executions, which will break here
early next year, include a spot fronted by the Hollywood actor, Harvey
Keitel. They are all ’genuine stories of individuals with a powerful
story to tell, who overcome their personal fears’, Menezes says. The
umbrella theme, ’keep walking’, is designed to encapsulate mankind’s
desire to make progress.
’Keep walking’ is the first high-profile international advertising
campaign for Johnnie Walker since its parent company, Guinness, merged
with Grand Metropolitan to form Diageo two years ago.
Menezes believes the subsequent implementation of an executive committee
will prove key to the campaign’s success. The key decision makers,
comprising global brand executives from the US, Brazil, Greece, Thailand
and Japan, will be accountable for driving the implementation of Johnnie
Walker’s global strategy.
But can a global campaign of this size appeal to local markets? Menezes
believes it is possible to succeed in multiple markets using local
executions in tandem with the global work. He rubbishes suggestions that
sacrificing quality is an inevitable by-product: ’Where global
advertising doesn’t work is when it doesn’t connect around the world. We
have a brand that is well-established both on a global and personal
level, with simple but universal values.’
Menezes believes that with BBH’s ’outstanding creativity’ and Leo
Burnett’s network, the campaign’s success is guaranteed. ’I’ve got the
best job in the world,’ he raves. With enthusiasm like that, it’s hard