In Drinks Spirits by Clyde Mooney

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Diageo has launched its biggest national brand campaign for a decade, cementing the lucrative Scotch market with an evolution of the iconic Keep Walking and what that means in Australia in 2018.

Whiskey and Scotch in particular are growing categories in Australia. Johnnie Walker is the #1 selling Scotch both here and globally, and Black Label remains the number one selling deluxe Scotch whisky in the world (IWSR, 2017).

Last night the $15 million The Next Step campaign began, to roll out over the coming 18 months. The 45-second TVC (below) is the start of an extensive push on the category, Diageo holding a huge portfolio of pub staple and top-shelf brands, led by flagship Johnnie Walker.

“It’s one of the most iconic alcohol brands in the world, and it’s incredibly exciting to launch our first major campaign in a decade that’s been created specifically for and in the Australian market,” says Diageo Australia marketing and innovation director, Adam Ballesty.

“Soon we’ll also unveil updated branding that will better reflect Johnnie Walker’s premium, stylish and confident brand positioning as well as the exceptional quality of the liquid itself.”

The campaign is almost a year in the making, involving extensive research with consumers and cultural experts, with the goal of representing progress in 2018 while staying true to the brand. This led to a message featuring a subject more relatable than the typical celebrity or sports star.

The TVC was created in partnership with Leo Burnett Sydney and filmed entirely in Sydney, with a soundtrack by indie rock band The Decemberists, depicting a student following his passion for art, and a series of successes and setbacks.

It debuted last night during AFL Round 1 (West Coast v Sydney) and Australian Spartan, on Channel 7, and The Story of Food Waste, on SBS.

Ballesty says the ‘Keep Walking’ theme resonates very well with consumers, but told B&T “we knew that to nail this campaign we had to understand how to redefine it so it’s relevant for life in today’s culture”.

Diageo says The Next Step campaign reframes the brand’s attitude for modern Australia by “recognising that it’s taking the next step on the path to personal progress and achievement that’s the most important, rather than the last”.


Drinks awards flow

Also this month – Diageo was recipient of more accolades at the 2018 Drinks International Distillery Challenge Awards, in London.

The ‘Bundaberg Rum Distillery Experience’ was named World’s Best Distillery Retail Experience for the second year in a row, and the Spirit of Bundaberg Festival was awarded World’s Best Distillery Event for the second time in three years.

Suitably, HRH the Prince of Wales will be visiting the Bundaberg Rum Distillery on 6 April, as part of a tour of the region.

And, the Spirit of Bundaberg Festival – the largest food and rum festival in Australia – will return, at the distillery grounds, on 13 October, as part of Bundaberg Rum’s 130th anniversary celebrations.