Viral Ad Campaign of the Week: Johnnie Walker, The Gentleman’s Wager

johnnie walker

Viral ads on YouTube are becoming more and more like mini movies, and this online consumer couldn’t be happier. The Johnny Walker viral ad campaign “The Gentleman’s Wager” stars Jude Law, a boat, and a dance routine around a story.

It isn’t often that people want to watch movies sponsored by brands, this is certainly an exception!

Viral Ad Campaign of the Week: Johnny Walker, The Gentleman’s Wager

Right from the moment you push play on this video you know that you’re not in for a typical ad. Light, jazzy music plays. A boat is drifting in water that can only be cool and refreshing, and a famous actor, recognizable by all, starts the story:

As you can see, the video isn’t so much an advertisement of a brand of liquor as it is an advertisement for a lifestyle to strive for. The fun, quirky nature of the video also lends to not only watching it once, but watching it twice, or more!

Other aspects of the Johnny Walker, The Gentleman’s Wager viral ad campaign

To further emphasize the lifestyle tie-in, the campaign is tied to well known men’s fashion online retailer Mr. Porter. A pop-up appears along the top of the video, linking you to their campaign page for the video.

Once you click on the link, the Mr. Porter end of The Gentleman’s Wager campaign page shows you all kinds of behind the scenes moments, thoughts behind why they put it together, and touches on the lifestyle aspect again.

The Johnnie Walker Twitter page features the Gentleman’s Wager campaign prominently as its header image, with the Facebook page following suit: johnnie walker facebook header image Problems with the Johnnie Walker, The Gentleman’s Wager viral ad campaign

Their Twitter use on this campaign has been minimal. One tweet sent out, no hashtag used, and a few retweets of other people’s content. The original tweet is pretty much all that they’ve done with this on the platform:

There is also little in the way of mention on the actual Johnnie Walker page about the campaign, unlike the extensive amount of information available on Mr. Porter. Johnnie Walker has moved on to the less successful “The Man Who Walked Around the World” video. If ever a video from them needed our YouTube video promotional service, this may be the one. It needs a push.

Now, if we’re going to talk problems with the Johnnie Walker Gentleman’s Wager campaign it is this: it didn’t make me want to drink Johnnie Walker. The brand itself is hardly featured at all, a few glasses with brown liquid in it are the most obvious representation of the brand. A few scenes feature the bottle, but in some it isn’t even facing the camera: Johnnie walker the gentleman's wager Maybe they didn’t want to push the product at all. Maybe they wanted an ad campaign the didn’t campaign that hard. But at the very least they could have made me a little bit thirsty for a scotch. The ad did little to sway me away from Jack Daniel’s for all my brown liquor needs. But then maybe I’m not quite sophisticated enough to understand scotch, and this will be my introduction to trying it along with many others.

by Ernest Thompson

Ernest is an online marketing user and abuser with a keen eye for the latest viral trends. His years of experience in the online marketing industry are presented here on Viral Tactics for you to learn from, and to offer you a chance to add your opinions.