Current Events Used To Sell Whiskey

Is war fair fodder for advertising? Leo Burnett thinks it is, and so does Diageo, the world’s largest spirits company.
According to the International Herald Tribune, the two have teamed to provide a new twist on Johnnie Walker’s “Keep Walking” campaign (originally created by Bartle Bogle Hegarty) for the Lebanese market.
courtesy of Flickr user Fadilb
Not everyone thinks this localized twist is a great idea. Ad blogger Mack Simpson finds the use of war imagery in an ad of this sort vomit inducing.
I can see how it might be hopeful to some (which was the agency’s intention), and over-the-top offensive to others. Which makes me think of one of my favorite maxims from this nutty business: If your work doesn’t piss someone off it probably isn’t any good?

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Hmmmm. David, about a week ago you took offense to Jimmy Choo selling fashion accessories with an image you thought glamorized violent crime. Aren’t you equally offended to see Johnny Walker sell booze by glorifying violent acts of war? My vote for the greater offense goes to Johnny Walker.

  2. I’ve never claimed to be consistent. Be that as it may, there was no upside to the Jimmy Choo ad. This Johnny Walker board allows for various interpretations, some hopeful.

  3. The upside for Jimmy Choo is that he’ll probably sell more stuff with his ad than Johnny Walker will with their ad.