Johnnie Walker – The Brand Who Walked Around The World

Last week I went and saw the awesome Expendables. It’s pretty much the male version of Sex and the City. I was at one point a little confused as to why they where starting to build a plot, by my calculations there could have been at least 10 more explosions and 40 more awesome ways to take out the bad guys and that should have been the priority.

Before the movie there was the story of Johnny Walker, an ad sure, but a really interesting and engaging one. Even if you don’t have any interest in whiskey the story is amazingly engaging. Narrated by Robert “perfect delivery” Carlyle.

What I found so interesting was the contrast between a great story told well, with minimal special effects and trickery versus no story with the best actions scene you have seen in your life. Both excellent in their own ways, it just highlights how important it is to have a clear vision of what you want to achieve from the beginning. Does your brand need a good story, or do you need some explosions? Either way it is important to know that both directions can build emotional connections with you audience, but be weary both have different outcomes.

The Johnny Walker story is amazing for a number of reasons. The format between advertising and short film is blurred. Robert Carlyle’s attitude, delivery, pace and timing is perfect. And the ad cements Johnny Walker’s place in pop culture and history. It goes to show you the power of a good brand story, and this is one of the best I have seen. Lucky it’s a Friday because it is a long one, but well worth it. Watch and see if you agree, let me know your thoughts. I’d love to know whether you loved it or hated it, how effective it was for your view of the Johnnie Walker brand.

If you would like to chat about the Expendables or how you can leverage your brand story, karate kick the phone off the table and give us a call.

Lachlan “bring it on” McDougall
Design Creative


  1. Sara Goodman

    What a great brand story. You feel the personality behind the brand, the corporate culture- and how simply, yet satisfying the story is delivered through a short 5 minute film. Way to go Johnnie Walker!

    • Great feedback. Interesting, there seems to be a growing disassociation with the aging of the JW brand. Long living brands often face this challenge of when to refresh and reinvent. Seems like it might be time for Johnnie Walker to take a good look at their global brand positioning.

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