Chris Reed
Mar 14, 2013

Johnnie Walker's Voyager sails into a marketing Odyssey

Diageo’s Johnnie Walker brand have come up with some very innovative marketing solutions outside of bars and retail to promote their newly created premium brands. One great example of this is the John Walker and Sons Voyager adventure.

Johnnie Walker's Voyager sails into a marketing Odyssey

The dramatic luxury yacht John Walker and Sons Voyager is getting through an exotic Asian journey from Shanghai through major countries including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippines and Hong Kong.

The aim is to reproduce the journey that ship captains were persuaded to make by the Walkers to export and engage communities in all parts of the world.  

An early social media engagement exercise. It also celebrates the 80th anniversary of a special decanter that sways with the motion of the sea and used to be used on yachts when travelling by boat was the norm thus re-emphasising the luxurious nature of the product again. The crystal-grade glass decanter housing the Odysssey is a feat of technical design itself. It swings elegantly rotating a full 360 degrees and always pointing up.

Asia Pacific is key to the luxury market for Diageo with half of the 80% sales growth in whiskey drinking in Asia coming from super deluxe whiskies for the discerning drinker.

What I love about this marketing strategy is how they have accentuated the adventure through off and on line marketing exploitation. This includes special events at each port with selected premium clientele invited onto the luxury yacht to experience its craftsmanship, luxury interiors and premium whiskies including the new very expensive Odyssey range.

They have also gained an immense amount of PR in luxury magazines, on line and newspapers projecting the luxurious nature of the yacht and its journey with the positive association on the Johnnie Walker brand and especially the new Odyssey product. The dedicated website is also full of great photos and stories from the journey which elevates the brand through the luxurious associations.

As the boat journeys through Asia Pacific, leading authors, photographers and illustrators from around the region will capture the progress of each port-of-call from the Golden Era till present day, recreating one of the first luxury travel guides written – ‘Around the World’. First commissioned by the House of Walker almost 100 years ago, the guide was developed with the assistance of John Walker & Sons in-market distributers who each contributed a chapter on their country.

Diageo have also accentuated events happening at each city port through on line historical you tube films that have gone into great detail about the original journeys. These are great stories in their own right and hardly even mention whiskey at all but by reflection the epic nature of the documentaries will have positive brand effects on the product and brand.

The overall effect of this epic marketing exercise is a luxurious luxury halo effect over all Johnnie Walker products not just Odyssey. Diageo have been very focused on elevating the brand through an overriding niche and luxurious marketing strategy that has involved everything from the Johnnie Walker House in Shanghai and Beijing to the Odyssey adventure and more. This in turn has enabled the company to launch more premium products based on the roots of the Johnnie Walker brand and these new marketing campaigns.

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