Storytelling for Humans

Posted on March 10, 2009

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When good, old-fashioned TV storytelling is done well, it’s an incredibly powerful means for brands to forge bonds with their audiences. And as spirit brands, much like most categories these days, seem to be cutting down on their advertising spend, it makes a powerful leadership statement to raise one’s voice when everyone else is quiet. Johnnie Walker – case in point.

In this thought-provoking story about an esoteric bit of life-critical decision-making, our friend Johnnie appears to be less steadfast than usual in his stride. In fact, he has reached a crossroads in his journey. How odd you may think, but there’s a reason: this film is the story about how it all began … the first stride on Johnnie’s journey.

From this fresh perspective on the core brand idea “Keep Walking”, in which progress – advancement towards fulfillment – is achieved by relentlessly pursuing the dream one’s heart is set on, Johnnie calls out to the adventure-seeking, risk-taking side of the male mind. And he reminds us that our fate is something we choose.

The bold execution exudes loads of confidence by not shying away from the sometimes rough and crude reality of life. The tone is raw, gritty and very real. And there isn’t a pouring shot, a product shot or smiling model to be found. Instead, we see what appears to be a laden, unshaven dipsomniac on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere.

Here, he stands and observes villains and numerous deceptive characters driving by in distinctively “unpremium” rides. Hat off to the JW/Diageo marketers for buying interesting, evocative creative work based on audience empathy and insight. Advertising for humans, not consumers. And the same goes for BBH for making it happen.

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