Filmmaker Zoe Cassavetes Directs Johnnie Walker “True Rarity” China Campaign

Cassavetes Known For Commercial Work With Louis Vuitton And Miu Miu

bg_yuluContinuing its strong push to foster a new generation of Chinese whisky drinkers, the Diageo-owned whisky maker Johnnie Walker recently signed the Manchester-based ad agency Love to promote its Johnnie Walker Blue Label in the China market. Directed by the American filmmaker Zoe Cassavetes, who has previously worked with luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Miu Miu, Drum notes today that Love developed the concept, wrote the script and provided the creative direction for the 60 and 30-second “True Rarity” commercials.

Johnnie Walker Blue Label from LOVE. on Vimeo.

Along with shots of the Shanghai skyline, the ads feature a rare white tiger prowling the streets of the (mostly emptied, to unsettling effect) urban metropolis, which is meant to symbolize the fact that Johnnie Walker selects only one out of every 10,000 casks for its Blue Label whisky. As Love’s Mike Hughes, creative lead on the campaign, said this week, the ads were part of Johnnie Walker’s broader strategy to tap China’s wealthy luxury consumers. Said Hughes, “We wanted to create an emotionally engaging film that would position Johnnie Walker Blue Label as a luxury brand.” Agency account director Caroline Whittaker hinted that the ads were designed to soften the image of whisky drinking in the China market, where it’s still considered a drink for men, saying, “Traditionally Blue Label would have been considered a masculine drink but increasingly it resonates with a mixed audience.” Added Whittaker, “This latest campaign provides a new approach and reflects this change in direction.”

The new “True Rarity” campaign is not the first time Johnnie Walker has worked with Love, as the British firm designed the Johnnie Walker House in Shanghai, which opened last spring, and which Jing Daily toured last September. The newest ads also coincide with Johnnie Walker’s second “Yulu” campaign, directed by Jia Zhangke and announced at a press conference last month. Linking up with well-known directors like Jia and Zoe Cassavetes, and casting the likes of actor Chen Kun, artist Xu Bing, and businessman Pan Shiyi has been a smart move for Johnnie Walker in China, with the first “Yulu” campaign proving massively successful on social media platforms like Sina Weibo. According to Diageo, the campaign generated 20 million video views over the course of eight weeks.


Art & Design, Market Analysis