BBH, Johnnie Walker Play the Field

NEW YORK Johnnie Walker’s brand icon, the Striding Man, is taking bigger steps into the sports arena as the scotch looks to better connect with its male 25-35-year-old target audience.

The Diageo-owned brand will make its largest-ever investment in sports-related advertising to get its brown liquor before baseball, football, golf and racing fans. The company spent $10 million on media behind the brand last year, per TNS Media Intelligence.

Johnnie Walker will break as many as six baseball- and football-related print ads with the theme of greatness. Playing off its “Keep walking” tagline, we see the Striding Man in one ad walking a straight line that ends in Cooperstown, N.Y., home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. In another ad, he walks off a scoreboard during a game that is in the 17th inning.

Print, via BBH, London and New York, will run in September-November issues of men’s magazines such as ESPN, GQ and Sports Illustrated.

The brand also has targeted as many as six markets with in-stadium and outdoor ads. At Yankee Stadium, for example, when a player walks, the scoreboard display will read, “Keep walking to first base.” Similar efforts will be made in Boston, Florida and elsewhere.

This year Johnnie Walker became a sponsor of the Formula One West McLaren Mercedes car. It will begin leveraging that relationship next May in print ads that will carry a social responsibility message.

“The brand benefits from Formula One’s status as the ultimate in racing cars in terms of speed, cost and glamour,” said Chris Parsons, vp of marketing for scotch at Diageo.