Johnnie Walker Blue Label: The Gentlemen's Wager

Ronnie Thomas

Campaign details

Brand owner: Diageo
Lead agency: PHD Singapore and Anomaly New York
Contributing agency: Freuds London
Budget: 3 - 5 million
Country: Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Kenya, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States, Vietnam
Industry: Luxury and super-premium brands, Spirits, liqueurs
Media: Content marketing, Earned media, buzz, Online video, Public relations, Social media, Sponsorship - media

Executive summary

This case study describes how Johnnie Walker Blue Label, a premium scotch whisky, ran its first centrally-executed global digital campaign to raise the brand from premium to luxury. The campaign, 'The Gentlemen's Wager', ran from August to November 2014 across 24 countries globally. The campaign aimed to elevate the brand from a premium scotch whisky to being considered as a luxury brand in its own right. Driving this objective was the resurgence of the luxury market – which had seen a downfall in the years following the global financial crisis of 2008 – and a new affluent consumer who didn't yet see premium whiskies as part of this new luxury world. Thus the brand had an opportunity to tap into a new market and a new consumer, one who was willing to spend more on premium brands. The campaign redefined how luxury brands should approach storytelling in the digital space, with a smart mix of storytelling and an innovative approach to global digital content partnerships, all based on a strong insight into what makes the new luxury consumer tick. The campaign resulted in a 41% increase in bottle sales globally, strong growth in brand equity measures, and successfully elevated the Blue Label brand to an icon of new luxury.

Market background and context