Dear Johnnie Walker

Dear Johnnie Walker,

Thank you for your new Gold Label Ice Pillar. It’s just the latest of the multitude of things that I admire about you – as a product and as a brand.

So maybe it’s not “the done thing” to serve whiskey frozen, but I love the way you’re not bothered by that, by the way you’ve got a portfolio that does do the right thing for the whiskey sticklers out there, and how through innovation you make your positioning a reality.

Whilst I’m at it, thank you for your positioning. “Keep Walking” inspires me again and again, both as a “brand consultant” and as a “normal person”. I just love this execution:

And thanks for your “The Man Who Walked Around The World” mini-film featuring Robert Carlyle – it serves to remind me that you can have too much of a good thing. Now I know that it’s not an ad and that it’s designed to tell the brand story, but for me, much of the mystery and power of the “Keep Walking” positioning is lost:

The concept is compelling. The execution is powerful and beautiful. In fact, it’s masterful right up until the point when Robert Carlyle says “A commercial proposition – and a very profitable one”. It’s as if, from that point, the brand team could help but start annotating the script, peppering it with business jargon and meeting room speak. Reminds me of this:

Maybe it’s just me but I cannot help but think that at least some of the other nearly 1m viewers on YouTube might have been rankled by phrases such as: “corporate raiding”; “unmistakable presence on any shelf in the world”; “led the brand into the 20th Century”; “the brand’s advertising”; “the world’s biggest whiskey brand”.

Or maybe not.

Either way it’s a minor discrepancy in a world of excellence. Thanks for everything.

Ned

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