Cannes Lions

Reimagining the Scotch Whisky Experience

JOHNNIE WALKER, Edinburgh / JOHNNIE WALKER / 2023

Case Film

Overview

Entries

Credits

Overview

Background

In 2020, Scotch whisky tourism was viewed by many as ‘out-of-date’ and ‘dull’, with limited audience appeal. The pandemic had had a significant impact on the experience sector, and as footfall returned consumers desired new and exciting experiences.

Diageo looked to address the lack of innovative and contemporary homegrown Scotch experiences – against a backdrop of a declining Scotch category – and recruit the next generation of whisky drinkers.

To do so, each Johnnie Walker Brand Home or ‘FC’ (Glenkinchie in the Lowlands, Clynelish in the Highlands, Caol Ila on Islay and Cardhu in Speyside) was overhauled to bring them into the modern age and tie together the story of Johnnie Walker across the country. The cherry on top was the opening of JWPS in Edinburgh – providing a brand home in the capital which was easily accessible for homegrown and international visitors.

With accessibility in mind, Diageo worked to make its Scotch experiences as inclusive as possible; welcoming non-drinkers, women, younger adults, and disabled visitors.

Finally, the reinvention aimed to create more jobs and drive footfall to the areas around the brand homes. Ultimately having only a positive impact upon the community.

Strategy

When reimagining the Brand Homes, storytelling was key. Diageo worked with its archivist and local communities to unearth stories of places and people; pivoting from ‘process-driven’, to ‘story-driven’ experiences.

JWPS was built on a digital backbone; harnessing consumer data from booking, through to the post-visit CRM – an omni-channel journey that continues driving advocacy once people leave the building.

Set over eight floors, the star of the show is the immersive Journey of Flavour tour, mapping customers’ flavour profiles to personalised drinks and offering up to 800 serve combinations (including non-alcoholic). All are welcome at the 1820 rooftop bar – a new gem of the West End – and the state-of-the-art retail store, Johnnie Walker’s largest globally.

Accessibility is woven into every physical and digital touchpoint. JWPS is the only Euan’s Guide certified venue locally, signposting it as disabled and carer-friendly and offering a Changing Places toilet for visitors and non-visitors alike. The 150+ employees speak 23 languages collectively and a British Sign Language tasting was recently introduced.

Sustainability-wise, the building incorporates roof terrace planters for herbs, bird boxes, refill machines, and drinks dispensary machines.

The FCs have equally been reimagined with community, sustainability and accessibility in mind (see deck).

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