Johnnie Walker is one of the most renowned whisky brands in the world, with a presence in over 200 international markets. It is widely recognized by experts as the epitome of excellence in whisky craftsmanship. Embracing the philosophy of "Keep Walking," the 150-year-old Johnnie Walker brand continues to evolve and captivate audiences with its timeless story. As part of the ambitious "Keep Walking" project, the "Journey of Unwavering Progress" campaign stands as one of the most successful endeavors in the brand's history.
Originating from Scotland, Johnnie Walker made its debut in the Vietnamese market not long ago but quickly solidified its position as a leader in the whisky industry, captivating discerning customers and becoming a prominent player in the market.
However, in 2009, the market faced a slowdown after the global economic crisis. Consumers became increasingly fickle, gravitating towards new brands that invested heavily in creating a strong presence and profit. With a plethora of options, consumers seemed eager to explore and try various whiskies. This raised the question: why should they remain loyal to Johnnie Walker?
For consumers, alcoholic beverages, especially whisky, serve as status symbols that signify their social standing and success. The whisky they consume or gift reflects their class and accomplishments. Enjoying whisky is not just about indulging in success, but also about seeking inspiration. As the demand for luxury cognacs, exquisite wines, and rapidly emerging champagnes grows as a new trend, this becomes truer than ever.
Johnnie Walker faces two major challenges. Firstly, while the brand has garnered immense popularity over the years, its "new and distinctive" image is not its primary differentiator. Secondly, the brand occupies a relatively mid-range pricing tier. These two aspects don't align with Johnnie Walker's original objectives:
Leading in a Changing Landscape: How can Johnnie Walker maintain its leadership position in an environment where consumers chase opulence and change rapidly?
Elevating Luxury Perception: How can Johnnie Walker exude an aura of luxury to its customers despite being an established brand with moderate pricing?
Another challenge arises from the shift in public perception of marketing. Consumers have become more discerning and skeptical, especially in the luxury segment where attracting customers often requires flashy imagery and frivolous promises.
To address the consumer perception challenges, Johnnie Walker's objectives are:
Cultivating Deeper Connections: To build deeper emotional connections with consumers and overcome criticism and doubts related to marketing, thereby increasing brand loyalty.
Cultural Impact: To make the community perceive the brand as a symbol of luxury and success, aligning with the aspirations of the target audience.
Top-of-Mind Awareness: To become the most desired brand in the on-trade locations such as restaurants, hotels, and bars, instilling pride in those establishments when offering Johnnie Walker products.
Modern life and digital technology have shaped a new generation's unique approach to learning and observing the world around them. Unlike their older counterparts, young entrepreneurs strive for success on their own terms, not adhering to outdated norms. They understand that success is not easily attainable and seek inspiration from their peers who have achieved great heights through hard work and determination.
Progress and the journey of achievement resonate deeply with young entrepreneurs. Success isn't just about wealth; it's about having a purpose and relentlessly pursuing it. The pursuit of dreams and the process of constant progress define their identity and social status, rather than material possessions alone.
The campaign aims to reshape the perception of young Vietnamese entrepreneurs while embodying the essence of the Johnnie Walker brand.
While competitors often market their products with extravagant and luxurious lifestyles, Johnnie Walker takes a different approach with a comprehensive and credible communication campaign that reflects the real challenges faced by entrepreneurs in their quest for success.
Johnnie Walker realizes that if its target audience is skeptical of opulence and grandiose promises, the brand should instead portray the realistic, unembellished journey of success – one that is often filled with failures and darkness before achieving greatness. By contrast, other competitors may have created an illusion of grand success.
Johnnie Walker's communication approach is not a typical advertising campaign; it is a movement that engages and inspires an entire generation, led by the young entrepreneurs themselves.
The "Keep Walking" campaign spans over 120 countries and spans eight years, featuring over 50 TV programs, 150 advertisements, radio spots, websites, sponsored events, internal awards, customer appreciation events, and charitable contributions.
The "SuperSocial" Phase: This phase focuses on building social engagement and conversations, with the theme "Endless Journey." It aims to resonate with the young entrepreneurs' desire for continuous progress.
The "SuperBowl" Phase: This phase aims to reinforce the message with a grand event that celebrates and showcases the essence of "Keep Walking."
In Vietnam, the "Keep Walking" concept transformed into "The Journey of Unwavering Progress." The campaign calls for action to contribute to Vietnam's growth and development, accumulating and dedicating "Steps" to a project close to their hearts, with Johnnie Walker providing the sponsorship.
Website and Microsite
The campaign's microsite, www.hanhtrinhkhongngungbuoctoi.com, played a pivotal role, showcasing the implementation and participation details of the Hub Culture project. The main website, www.khongngungbuoc toi.com, boasted elegant design and featured inspiring stories of individuals who pushed their limits and explored new horizons, Johnnie Walker's heritage, news, and events.
The "Hành Trình Không Ngừng Bước Tới" campaign commenced with a grand event at the Hanoi Opera House, featuring renowned guests like Jennifer Phạm, Supermodel Thanh Hằng, Singer Vy Oanh, Dương Thùy Linh, and Singer Phương Linh. This event marked the beginning of a series of activities under the winning Hub Culture project. Additionally, a series of "Step Forward and Discuss" workshops were organized to offer Vietnamese youth opportunities to gain valuable insights from world-leading economic experts at Bitexco Towers, TP. HCM.
In China, the campaign received support from various mass media channels. Above-the-line activities involved a TV commercial, press events, and two talk-shows on prominent TV programs during daytime. The campaign also utilized TV and online advertisements, prompting viewers to visit the website and engage in discussions.
A key element of the media strategy was shifting 70% of the budget from "paid media" to content creation, which encouraged social discussions and interactions, allowing the brand to gain "earned media" through social buzz. TV and PR were used to amplify the reach of the discussions and attract more consumers to participate and contribute.
In both China and Vietnam, Johnnie Walker launched captivating video series and clips. In China, the documentary-themed "Keep Walking" film, directed by Jia Jiangke, consisted of 11 real-life stories, each centered around a compelling narrative. Similarly, in Vietnam, "The Pact" series featured four prominent figures - actor Johnnie Trí Nguyễn, entrepreneur Hoài Nam, musician Đức Trí, and tennis player Thái Dương, all sharing their unstoppable journey.
In China, the "Keep Walking" campaign entered the "SuperSocial" phase with a strategic approach to ignite conversations and create a strong social impact:
Heating Up the Media: To kickstart the campaign, Johnnie Walker collaborated with Han Han, the world's most-followed blogger and a prominent figure of the "unstoppable generation." He was the perfect choice to fuel debates around the topic: "Is the 'unstoppable generation' really incapable? Do they lack dreams?" A groundbreaking dialogue between Han Han and numerous consumers began to spread rapidly.
Adding Fuel to the Fire: Acclaimed documentary filmmaker Jia Jiangke joined forces with Han Han to launch a film project showcasing his perspective on "capturing China's new development with dreams, ambitions, and social progress." Over 100 influential bloggers were invited to share their views, adding more depth to the discussions.
Results in China
Given China's vast size and the fact that imported alcohol only held 5% of the market, the following figures were remarkable in this context. Before the campaign, Johnnie Walker's "Share of Voice" was relatively low, with 21% on TV and 24% on digital (Source: MHD/Mindshare).
First Goal: Building Deeper Connections
The authentic advertising approach was new to China, and the campaign aimed to gauge how well it resonated with the target audience. The answer was positive, as the realistic ads were highly effective in building connections. A significant 92% of the target audience liked the campaign, and an impressive 96% trusted and shared it (Source: MHD/TNS tracking).
In-depth research showed a substantial increase in brand awareness, with a 17% jump compared to the initial 11% in the categories of "Distinctive" and "Progressive."
Countless positive comments across various online channels highlighted the profound connection with the campaign. People appreciated that it was an emotionally charged advertisement that did not explicitly focus on the product.
The most explicit evidence of the campaign's connection with consumers was a 7-point increase in brand loyalty, and this number had a sustainable upward trend (Source: MHD/TNS tracking).
Second Goal: Creating Cultural Impact
The campaign immediately sparked cultural impact, with Han Han's thought-provoking questions leading to 10.7 million people posting comments or sharing content.
Online discussions about Johnnie Walker on social media increased by 300%, resulting in 30% of all social media conversations being related to Johnnie Walker, securing the brand's dominant position in social trends (Source: MHD/OgilvyOne).
The digital channels, along with TV commercials, attracted a significant number of participants to Johnnie Walker's website and Weibo (China's social media platform):
6 million actual users (unique users)
34 million content views across all channels
These numbers resulted in a total of 1.7 million hours of interaction with the brand by the target audience.
The use of mass media support also led to a 7-times reduction in the cost per click (CPC) (Source: MHD/OgilvyOne).
The earned media value, which cannot be precisely measured in financial terms, was substantial. For example, 12 television channels requested to use campaign content, estimated to be worth up to 7 million CNY in media value (Source: MHD/BBH).
Furthermore, the short documentary films were edited into a feature-length film. It participated in several film festivals and was nominated at the three largest film festivals in China: Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Yunnan. The film also gained popularity in the Chinese film industry, leading to numerous local theaters broadcasting it on TV channels in Beijing (Source: MHD/BBH).
Third Goal: Demonstrating Brand Awareness and Desire
The powerful cultural impact resulted in an increase in stories and "buzz" around Johnnie Walker. This was measured based on online exchanges, social media discussions, traditional PR, and online PR, leading to a growth from a modest 19% to a commanding 57% share of the total alcohol-related conversations (Source: MHD/Ogilvy One).
According to these indicators, the estimated earned media value reached $44 million USD, a significant return on investment compared to the initial campaign expenses.
The desire for Johnnie Walker was expressed through "affinity" and "purchase intent." The measurements of brand attributes such as "appeal" and "brand just for me" saw a 5% increase among the target group aged 25-35, a competitive market with media poverty among competitors, highlighting the effectiveness of the campaign.
A survey on purchasing behavior in the past three months showed a growth from 40% to 45% (Source: MHD/TNS tracking).
The increase in purchase behavior led to a 2% growth in market share production.
The sales volume witnessed a remarkable 12% increase, outperforming the industry's average growth rate (Source: MHD).
Results in Vietnam
The "Hành Trình Không Ngừng Bước Tới" campaign had a significant impact in Vietnam as well, with over 600 guests, VIPs, and celebrities attending the event at the Hanoi Opera House.
The "Hub Culture" project generated remarkable engagement, with over 43,000 walkers, 415 contributed ideas, and more than 1,000 enthusiastic participants at the Hub Culture conferences.
Note: The provided text seems to be part of a report or case study analyzing the results and impact of the "Keep Walking" campaign in China and Vietnam. If you need further information or analysis, please let me know.