Skip to content →

The Man Who Walked Around The World

This is an ad for Johnnie Walker whisky. Not a brand I’m especially fond of. But this five-and-a-half-minute film, with actor Robert Carlyle narrating the history of Johnnie Walker, is really very well done. Yes, it’s an ad, coming from the ad industry’s vile notion of "helping companies to tell their stories…" But Johnnie Walker’s been around a long time, and has an actual story to tell. More importantly, this is a story elegantly and charmingly told, by one of my favourite actors.

Published in researchmaterial


  1. Yeah I saw this a few days back. Very well done indeed. Sometimes ads can be very nice things indeed. Although they probably came up with the idea during a coke binge.

  2. Rod Rod

    Good ad’. Speaking of Johnnie Walker ads and symbols, Diageo Scotland has announced plans to cut 900 jobs, 700 of them in Kilmarnock, where the whisky brand has had a presence since 1820. Interestingly, the locals say there is a clue to the company’s attitude to their historic links in the new Johnnie Walker symbol’s movement away from the town.

    It’s not my favourite either, I find it a harsh drink and prefer a smooth malt.

  3. I love that the security on the set was one Mr. Shug McGurk.

  4. Pinoles Pinoles

    Thank you Mr. Ellis, this was great fun to watch, all the more so as i’m a fan of neither the brand nor advertizing gimmicks in general.

    In particular I thought the scoring was excellent, and really contributed to my becoming immersed in the ad (although Mr. Carlyle’s performance did the most towards that of course). Great lighting, directing, and btw i feel for whoever had to chase after the items thrown by the wayside …

    (In other news, i do realize that stating this pins me as maybe needing some type of professional help, but … could the piper at least be fake-playing the same tune that’s being dubbed?)

    Again, thank you for this Sir. Nicely done.

  5. Yes! I like him! And you! and…and…cheese.

  6. I was in a college class, as so many young people find themselves these days, on marketing in the modern era. They claimed that sex was the focal point of all advertising, and that no ad, no matter how seemingly straight-forward, pertained to the physical act. Clothes, hygiene products, food, even toys. Sex, sex, and in the last case, psuedo-sexual manipulations.

    When asked if you couldn’t just make an ad campaign devoid of sexual imagery, by some young upstart who had just gotten this same lecture in the horror portion of his film class, the professor answered “Yes, but good luck selling anything.”

    I don’t drink whisky and I want to buy a case of that shit on artistic merit alone. And I didn’t even once see Robert Carlyle take off anything more than a hat.

  7. wyrmsine wyrmsine

    It’s nice that they got Begbie to answer his own question.

  8. Thank you so much!! I also love Robert Carlyle – ever since Ravenous he’s been a favorite of mine – and since I’m a fan of Laphroaig over Johnnie Walker I likely would never have seen this. Gratitude and shared joy ;)

  9. Daibhidh Daibhidh

    It’s a good ad, but I can’t help wondering about a few points:

    Firstly I’m stuggling to understand how Diageo can possibly trumpet the brands history given that they plan to discard that same history via closures in an already struggling area of the country.

    Further to that, spending, what must surely be a large amount of money, on this advertisement must be one of the most blatant slaps in the faces to the people they claim they can no longer afford to employ, that I’ve ever seen.

    Lastly, the presence of “proud working-class Scot” Robert Carlyle is rather jarring, suggesting that all he really cares about is a fat pay-cheque, some of which he will no doubt spend on a golden broom, to brush his suddenly inconvenient alledged principles aside.

    Yes, it’s well done, but the whole thing reeks of hypocrisy I’m afraid.

  10. Warren Ellis Warren Ellis

    It’s an ad. What were you expecting? I wasn’t recommending it as the foundation of a new religion or anything.

  11. Sunavabitch, that was


  12. So, this begs the question… what is your preferred brand of whisky, Mr. Ellis?

  13. Is it out of place to ask what whiskey you drink? I got a bottle of Johnnie Walker on a friend’s recommendation and wasn’t that impressed.

  14. Ben Ben

    The blooper reel for this has got to be hilarious. Does he stomp back to his mark, going over the script or just have somebody drive him.

  15. Jim Oliver Jim Oliver

    If you can get up into the Moray backwater called Knockando, it’s completely worth touring the Cardhu distillery. It’s a Diageo distillery, so they talk a lot about the Walker, but Cardhu’s got a great history of it’s own and their malt is top class by itself. It kills me how hard it is to find it in the states.

    Anyway, if you spend the night in Dufftown it’s a days quiet walk to Cardhu, and you can pass six more distilleries on your way. Great, easy, beautiful trip in the summer.

  16. Johnnie Walker stopped walking a long time ago, about the time United Distillers was formed, in the ’80s. What is walking now is the rotten corpse of yet another tax-evading global corporation called Diageo.

    I personally don’t expect much from Carlyle or other actors (they are, after all, prostitutes: selling their bodies to writers and directors), but this ad is clearly an exercise in damage-limitation after the Kilmarnock scandal; timing and themes make it quite obvious. The brief must have been something like “FOR THE LOVE OF GOD TELL GUARDIAN READERS WE ARE NOT EVIL OR WE ARE F*CKED”.

  17. parisstarz parisstarz

    Johnnie Walker is blended pish we sell to the tourists, its not even a single malt. And makers Diageo are the most hated company in scotland for the proposed plant closure.

  18. Anonymous Anonymous

    Dude kept reading off a cue. I expect my actors to memorise their shizzy.

Comments are closed.