Women and Whisky, a stride or a crawl?

Andi McDermott on April 3, 2018

The iconic whisky brand Johnnie Walker made headlines earlier this month after they announced the arrival of Jane Walker – bottles of the classic scotch featuring a female version of their iconic striding logo. The logo rejig (a first for the company in over 100 years) was timed to coincide with both Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day in March.

Jane Walker, the first-ever female iteration of the brand’s Striding Man logo.

Jane Walker, it appears is part of parent company Diageo’s larger efforts to broaden their audience and ensure their whisky appeals to women.

In keeping with this push for gender inclusivity, the new campaign ‘The Next Step’ unveiled by the brand yesterday, with a revamped Johnnie back on the scene. This new spot from Diageo although not primarily targeting women, does looks to be inviting them in via a spot that may appeal to new generation of both female and male whisky drinkers.

Diageo Australia has refreshed its Johnnie Walker ‘Keep Walking’ platform in its latest campaign, ‘The Next Step’.

We put Johnnie’s gender inclusivity to test and asked three women (and a token man) to weigh in on the campaign; with their opinions ranging from optimistic to…let’s call it snarky.

“I like it, I like the narrative and I really like the fashion designer, she gives him his big break – she’s the stronger, more savvy character. I’m not particularly keen on breast and midriff shot next to the bottle at the end but it’s hard to judge just on this one spot and will be interesting to see where this narrative now extends to.”

“I liked that his career wasn’t what you expected – fashion design – a non-stereotypical career for a straight man. However, I didn’t like that the close up of the whisky glasses focused on the woman’s breasts and abs behind the bar. It was like they were trying to break the stereotype of women in alcohol ads, but then added it straight back in.”

The boob shot in question.

“There were definitely things I liked about the ad – the voice over and the music namely – but to be honest nothing in this spot particularly stands out to me. I hate scotch personally, but it made the brand seem cool, so there’s a win there.”

“Wow..what a time we live, women are finally allowed to drink whisky! Excuse me while my eyes roll out my head. In fairness, compared to other alcohol ads in history this is putting women in a better light, but in terms of reaching for a more gender inclusive audience, it feels like this ad is inching towards it.”

So the verdict is in for Diageo’s new spot; too many boob shots, great music choice, and while gender inclusivity is on the agenda we understand you need to walk before you can stride.

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