A few weeks ago my friend Tomaž reminded me about a very cool fantastic ad for Johnnie Walker. It was made last year and it features famous British actor Robert Carlyle (Begbie from Trainspotting, lead roles in The Full Monty, The 51st State …).

The ad The Man Who Walked around the World, written by Justin Moore of BBH London, is about the history of the famous Scottish whisky. Carlyle is walking and talking to camera, but the most interesting fact about the ad is that it was all shot in one take. The take used was the final one they filmed at 8pm on the last day of the shoot (Take 40).

This ad is another clever way of enhancing brand equity – with a combination of no-editing, visuals, perfect writing and Carlyle’s charisma.

Johnnie Walker has also long tradition of name dropping – it was included in several pop/rock songs in the last years. We heard mentioning the name Johnnie Walker in Lady Gaga’s Speechless, Placebo’s Kings of Medicine or Leonard Cohen’s Closing Time.

Johnnie Walker has also used traditional product placement – for example we could see Angelina Jolie drinking Johnnie Walker’s Red Label in the movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

Angelina Jolie with an empty bottle of Johnnie Walker Red label (2005, 20th Century Fox, screen capture)

But the most unusual example of Johnnie Walker’s product placement is Haruki Murakami’s novel Kafka on the Shore. There is a character in that book named Johnnie Walker – his clothes are based on the red jacket, boots, cane, bow-tie and hat worn by the character in the Johnnie Walker’s logo.

Haruki Murakami's novel Kafka on the Shore

Product placement in film and television is another way to increase the visibility of alcohol brands. These placements come into theatres all over the world and then on television, where they promote alcohol brands even on markets with restrictions on alcohol advertising. So, if you’re managing an alcohol brand, you should really use product placement or some other creative solutions – like the one by Absolut vodka.