Johnnie Walker is familiar and popular: it’s not new or different. Second, it is relatively affordable. The two primary drivers of status are not available to Johnnie Walker. One challenge was: how do you stay ahead of the chasing pack and the fast changing consumer environment? Another: how do provide more status when you are not new and you are not expensive? As digital becomes mainstream in China, the backbone of PR technique: storytelling becomes more and more important in this era. Johnnie Walker decided to take a new approach in launching its brand campaign. Rather than ‘educating’ consumers what the brand idea ‘Keep Walking’ is about, it decided to ask consumers a question instead: what would you say to keep your generation walking?
This was not an advertising campaign, it was a cultural debate, facilitated by Johnnie Walker, inspired by Johnnie Walker but owned by our audience.The campaign structure was built around the over-arching principle of SuperSocial/SuperBowl. From this simple start-point sprang a cultural phenomenon spanning a web event, online debate with over 100 bloggers involved, the creation of modern China’s most compelling documentary films, most popular and respected offline media full reports and thousands of unique content pieces created.
It galvanized millions from the much derided ‘Rubber’ generation, showing them at their best, and gave the Johnnie Walker brand a distinct role in not only whisky culture but in the culture of a new emerging China. It got the brand US$40 million worth of ‘earned media’ making Johnnie Walker the most talked about brand in the digital space.
Australians have always believed their four biggest banks, Commonwealth, ANZ, Westpac and NAB work together fixing fees and eliminating competition. The reality for one of the four however is the opposite. NAB had invested two years making dramatic changes to be considered fairer and more competitive by its customers but these changes had limited impact because of the perceived collusion between the ‘Big 4’. Instead of fighting this perception of the banks being ‘together’, it embraced it by letting the public witness NAB break up with the other banks.
The idea: Getting people to openly witness NAB breaking up with the other major banks. It literally reversed the power of the competition against itself to underscore the difference between NAB and its competitors in a precisely orchestrated campaign the made full use of all communication channels in a timely and impactful way. The idea needed to engage over three very deliberate phases: seed / impact / extend working as both advertising and communicating through channels peopled readily believed, the news.
During ‘Break Up’, 180,000 new-to-bank customers joined NAB while customer defections reduced by 27 per cent, delivering a 61 per cent net growth. Over the last 12 months this delivered a 205 per cent ROI based on acquired and retained customers. All of NAB’s brand perception scores increased considerably, more than doubling its reputation for being ‘different’ and its ‘fairness’ reputation gap grew four fold over the competition. The Break Up cemented NAB in the public consciousness, but beyond the campaign itself, its real legacy has been to create a platform that’s delivering a financial performance well above market growth.