Ad Nut
Mar 26, 2018

Johnnie Walker takes A$15 million 'Next step' in Australia

Diageo splashes out on an 18-month, A$15 million campaign through Leo Burnett Sydney.

Diageo has launched what it called the biggest national brand campaign for Johnnie Walker in a decade in Australia: an A$15 million (US$11.59 million), 18-month endeavour featuring TV, OOH and digital media including a website. The 45-second TVC above started airing last night.

Named ‘The Next Step’, the work seems to be a solid if unsurprising take on the brand's long-running ‘Keep walking’ positioning. Diageo said the work is based on consumer research and insights into "what personal progress means to Australians today".

Said Adam Ballesty, marketing and innovation director for Diageo Australia:

Our brand research showed us that the way Australians define ‘progress’ is changing. There’s no one true definition, everyone’s journey of progress and achievement is different and deeply personal. With ‘The Next Step’ we’re representing progress in a way that feels more accessible, while staying true to our brand legacy.

Added Vince Lagana, executive creative director at Leo Burnett Sydney: 

We’re so used to seeing ‘progress’ displayed through the eyes of a celebrity or athlete, but with ‘The next step’ we wanted to reposition ‘Keep walking’ in a way that is more relatable and personal to our audience. With that, we have also looked at refreshing the brand with a campaign that delivers a contemporary new look and feel.

The TVC was directed by Erik Van Wyk and features a new track by American indie rock band The Decemberists.

Ad Nut is all for chasing one's personal dreams, but all too often sees wholly unrealistic portrayals of how that pursuit can play out. This ad is refreshing in that the protagonist doesn't magically achieve exactly what he might have had in mind at the outset. Instead, through doggedness and forging personal connections, he achieves success in an unanticipated but no less satisfying way. As someone who never had any intention of writing about advertising but remains nuts about the job, Ad Nut can relate.

It's completely understandable that the protagonist is a white male, as that surely matches the core target audience. That said, Ad Nut hopes to see the campaign branch out into a more diverse set of stories as it progresses.


• Adam Ballesty, Marketing & Innovation Director
• Jonathan Morgan, Marketing Manager Scotch & International Brands
• Melissa Maidment, Senior Brand Manager
• Thomas Grace, Digital and Planning Manager
Leo Burnett Sydney
• Vince Lagana & Grant McAloon - Executive Creative Director
• Malcolm Caldwell & Ian broekhuizen - Creative Director
• Brad Grey, Damon Porter, Chris Crawford - Creatives
• Rachel Devine, Senior Broadcast Producer
• James Walker-Smith, Group Business Director
• Jessica Rix, Business Director
• Trishika Ramrakha, Business Manager
• Graham Alvarez, Planning Director
• Mitchell Incoll, Strategy Director
• Natalie Smith, Content Director
• James Healey, Social Executive
• Justine Dooner, OOH Integrated Producer
• Production Company: Jungle Entertainment
Erik Van Wyk: Director / Sarah Nichols: Senior Producer / Nick Simkins: Executive Producer
• Audio: Nylon Studios Sydney
• Post production: ARC Edit
Simon Price: offline David Edwards: online
• Casting: McGregor Casting
• Lauren Small, General Manager
• Craig Cooper, Investment & Partnerships Director
• Fiona Clark, Connections Account Director
• James Drewe, Digital Director
• Steph O’Donnell, Investment & Partnerships Manager
• Jessica Brandalise, Account Director
• Fiona Hedge, Account Manager

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