Brands with balls: Johnnie Walker’s Glass Car

Picture this: you represent an alcohol brand. Your alcohol brand sponsors an activity that involves driving cars very, very fast around tight bends. Meanwhile, drink-driving is a huge issue in your sector.

Do you stick your head in the sand? Or stand up, accept your social responsibility, and make an ad like this?

The beautiful, brave Johnnie Walker ‘Glass Car’ piece is impressive for three reasons:

1. The stunning motion graphics
2. The script, which manages to tie in the product, Formula 1 sponsorship and an anti-drink-driving message – while still sounding beautifully-crafted
3. The fact that many, many brands would never touch this idea, for fear it would associate them with drink drivers.

Brand Republic doesn’t list the agency or the motion graphics house, but everyone involved in this must be feeling pretty good right now. Not only that it’s executed in such an immensely classy, inspiring way, but that it got made at all. We’ve all seen scores of ballsy ad ideas like this get killed over the years, because frankly, it’s a lot easier to ignore the big issues in your sector than to face them head-on, and risk people thinking that your customers are the problem.

I’m less keen on the hashtag #ImNOTdriving, which doesn’t seem to fit the tone of the script – but it seems to be established on Instagram already, so perhaps Johnnie Walker were trying to use an existing social property instead of creating a new one.

This is a striking, very shareable ad that gets its message across and positions Johnnie Walker as a responsible, ethical purveyor of alcohol. But most impressively, it’s Diageo showing that they’d rather take a stand than join all the other companies with their fingers in their ears. Great work.

Update: Grant Hunter has kindly provided the credits:

Agency: iris Worldwide Singapore
Director: Russ Appleford
Production: The Other Side

Well done, chaps.

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