Johnnie Walker Campaign Spotlights Flavor Profiles

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A new global campaign for Johnnie Walker employs arresting, somewhat surreal imagery to convey the “rich and intense” flavor profiles of its various Scotch whiskey blends.

Dubbed “Where Flavour is King,” the campaign, from U.K. ad agency LOVE, is launching first in Africa, Australia, Brazil, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and in the global travel sector. It will roll out in European markets starting next July, and will also launch in the U.S. during 2013 (date to be determined). 

Johnnie Walker, a Diageo brand, is the world’s top-selling blended Scotch whiskey. 

All of the ads are set in a lush, dark (built-from-scratch) drawing room, with a mysterious man (face not shown) in top hat and tails enthroned at the center. But the ad version for each blend or label features a somewhat different tableau around the “Flavour King” -- each featuring giant pieces of fruit, spices and other ingredients specific to the blend’s flavor profile, with glamorous women (and the occasional man) engaged in breaking open the fruit or preparing other ingredients. 

The Johnnie Walker Black Label ad, for example, shows women collecting the nectar from giant pears and tangerines, perched on giant apples, and stirring honey, as a man in a black suit uses an axe to crack open a huge almond. In the background, a fire-breather implies JW’s “distinctive smoky finish.”

The imagery is designed to provide consumers with “an instant, tangible association with the power and depth” of each blend’s flavor, notes Gavin Pike, global brand director for Johnnie Walker.

The campaign focuses on print, outdoor, radio and promotional materials.

In addition, a social media activation centers on a Facebook app. Brand fans can access content about the flavor profile of each JW label, serving suggestions and recipes that complement each variety.  

A behind-the-scenes video of the campaign’s shoot in London -- which was led by LOVE creative director Chris Myers and photographed by Finlay MacKay, with set design by Robin Brown, food styling by James Hayward and fashion direction by Luke Day of the U.K.’s GQ Style -- is posted on Vimeo.  

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