Luxury & Lifestyle, Grand Prix
The Ones Who... Keep Walking
It’s an exciting time for young people in Africa. Afro-optimism is spiking like never before, and nations are coming together to drive progress across the continent.
Collectively, 65% of 18-24-year-olds think ‘the 21st Century will be the African century’ (source: African Youth Survey 2020).
However, as more young people become proud to call themselves African, they are increasingly looking for content and stories that reflect their cultural identity.
That’s where global brands often fail them.
Typically, global content delivered at scale misunderstands the cultural nuances across the African continent and the subtle differences that exist between countries.
This is where Johnnie Walker saw an opportunity to connect.
The Scotch Whisky brand has always been defiantly optimistic and a champion of progress – just like young Africans.
In fact, its rallying cry of ‘Keep Walking’ has been inspiring people to push boundaries and taste more out of life for over two decades.
To help Johnnie Walker grow in Africa, we needed to insert this message into the local conversation for the first time.
That meant showing young Africans that we understood local cultures and that we shared their excitement for collective progress.
We would be judged by improved preference for the brand, and, ultimately, sales, in 13 countries.
This would be Johnnie Walker’s first-ever, dedicated, pan-African campaign.
The Content Solution
To become part of the cultural narrative, we needed to understand what was happening on the ground.
The best way of doing this would be to speak with the artists, designers, and musicians shaping the cultural scene in Africa today.
But rather than keeping these insights for ourselves, we had a better idea.
We would create a special documentary about the progressive young artists pushing Africa into the 21st century.
Our film would tell the stories of 20 creative people who are taking bold steps – people who are born boundary-pushers, refuse to stand still and are shaping Africa on new terms.
They are ‘The Ones Who… Keep Walking’.
To promote the film, our media strategy would be nuanced across the continent, using the best channels in each region to reach premium drinkers.
For most Africans, this is still TV. While digital is the fastest-growing channel across the continent, average penetration is 52%. TV reaches almost everyone – 83%.
But there are two major challenges with broadcasting on TV: First, there is no ‘one size fits all’ broadcasting solution in Africa; and second, many can’t advertise alcohol before 9pm, missing primetime.
So, to overcome these challenges, we would partner with Africa’s two largest TV networks – DSTV and Canal+ – who, between them, have the largest continental coverage and negotiating power.
Recognising the cultural importance of our story, we would ask both networks to agree to a no exclusivity deal – meaning both could syndicate the film across their relevant channels.
This cross-network alliance would be a continental first.
We would support the film with co-branded movie trailers in primetime, and share cut downs and clips online, too.
We would also work with local social influencers to unlock incremental reach, engagement, and shared and earned media.
The Media/Content Amplification Solution
In a continental media first, we brought two competing TV networks together to showcase and create fame for ‘The Ones Who…’.
Together, they premiered the 50-minute film in primetime and repeated it several times across their most popular entertainment channels.
United by a shared passion for storytelling, this was done at no cost to the brand.
Each airing of the film was pushed in primetime entertainment slots, when communities would gather to watch, across 16 different TV channels in 13 countries.
To ensure the film resonated with our target markets, we cut it into two languages and ran 40 different creative iterations to appease pre-watershed alcohol advertising regulations and tap into cultural preferences.
This included cutting out certain shots of alcohol (in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, and Angola) and highlighting local talent.
We supported the film with more than 1,000 30” and 60” movie trailers in 13 countries.
Additionally, over the five-month campaign period, we ran country-relevant product spots in ad breaks showcasing Johnnie Walker’s biggest campaigns.
We also ran the film on digital channels, hosting it on a dedicated microsite, with programmatic pre-roll trailers on YouTube.
This was the first time programmatic was employed at scale across the continent.
To drive online chat, we worked with 26 local social influencers in our target markets to talk about the film, engage their audiences, and push them to watch.
Finally, creating a physical presence in our target markets, we put quotes from locally relevant influencers on OOH sites in key cities.
‘The Ones Who…’ catapulted Johnnie Walker into African culture and consumers’ hands – driving continental sales up +19%.
Across TV and digital, 64M people in 13 countries saw our campaign.
The film generated 1,000 pieces of pan-continental press coverage – reaching a further 10.8M people.
Our social influencers created 200 posts, generating 1.1M impressions and reaching 198K people.
As a result, 3.7M watched the full 50-minute film.
Incredibly, premium drinkers watched our content for more than 5.2M hours – equivalent to 594 years!
Now, Africa is walking with Johnnie Walker.
29% of premium drinkers in Mozambique and Angola said Johnnie Walker is their preferred brand – a significant lead over Jameson (17%).
Kenya saw positive salience and trial shifts, and Johnnie Walker was the most talked about whisky brand in Ghana.
As a result, more people are buying.
In total, Johnnie Walker sales have grown by +19% across the continent.