Harvey Keitel stars in ad for Johnnie Walker

The movie actor, Harvey Keitel, a Moscow fireman and a New York tightrope walker are fronting the first global marketing campaign for Johnnie Walker whisky.

The movie actor, Harvey Keitel, a Moscow fireman and a New York

tightrope walker are fronting the first global marketing campaign for

Johnnie Walker whisky.



They star in a trio of commercials spearheading the initiative by UDV,

which is boosting its spend behind the brand to pounds 100 million.



Bartle Bogle Hegarty has produced the films and press campaign under the

theme ’keep walking’, which draws parallels between walking and personal

progress. The advertising is designed to update Johnnie Walker’s

century-old image of a striding gent with top hat and cane.



In all the commercials, the central characters confront their personal

demons. In one, Keitel faces a pack of lions in a Roman coliseum, while

another shows a tightrope walker performing thousands of feet above the

ground. The third ad features a real Moscow fireman who faces danger

daily.



Nigel Bogle, BBH’s joint chief executive, said: ’We discovered that

consumers were very interested in the values of scotch but found the

imagery associated with it largely irrelevant. Most of the

long-established advertising conventions had become empty cliches.’



The campaign will break initially in Johnnie Walker’s key markets of the

US, Japan, Greece, Turkey and Thailand and will extend into 40 markets,

including the UK, early next year. The films have been designed to work

across a diverse range of markets, regardless of cultural or commercial

differences.



Jack Keenan, chief executive of UDV, said: ’By breaking the mould of

traditional scotch whisky marketing, we believe this campaign will put

significant new energy behind Johnnie Walker.’



The commercials were written by James Sinclair, art directed by Ed

Morris and directed by Mehdi Norowzian, Laurence Dunmore and Stuart

Douglas of Joy Films, RSA Films and FourHund-red Films respectively.

Media buying is through Starcom.



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