Fun Friday: The Johnnie Walker Ad

I love the LA band called Chicano Batman.

They did an ad for Johnnie Walker back in January that is very timely right now.

Check it out.


Comments (Archived):

  1. LIAD


  2. jason wright

    is there a generally agreed definition of twenty first century ‘neo liberalism’?

  3. eliasmoubayed

    If only JW was as good as the song.

  4. JimHirshfield


  5. JamesHRH

    I wonder when English will lose its dominance in America.I don’t speak Spanish, wish I did, feels unlikely that I will pick it up this late in life.Cool ad, cooler than JW.

    1. Susan Rubinsky

      I mix Spanish phrases into my conversations often. I think it’s just rubbed off from knowing so many hispanic people. You can learn some basics just by hanging out with Spanish speakers. Also, the way they teach it in school is awful — you don’t really learn useful conversational Spanish.You could try Duolingo but I love my Michel Thomas –

      1. JamesHRH

        Generational Sandwich point of life. I am at max time crunch…hence, no habla español any time soon, despite being surrounded by Spanish speakers.

  6. Rob Larson

    I like their style.I miss the posts where you would give your favorite band / album of the year. Some of us who don’t allocate as much time/energy to music discovery depend on people like you to help us out. 🙂

  7. Jorge M. Torres

    Muy padre!

  8. Jeremy Robinson

    Indeed. “Es la tierra para mi, para ti!” With thanks to Woody Guthrie.

    1. Susan Rubinsky

      LOVED that part!!!!

  9. awaldstein

    Nice–feels like LA.I do love it, there next week.

  10. DJL

    Cool. Maybe they should make Congress watch this. (With subtitles, of course, for Sheila Jackson Lee and others that no habla Espanol.)Would have been even cooler if they had gone through Chinatown and other non-Hispanic neighborhoods to really drive the message. Fun to watch and a great start to Friday.

  11. John Pepper

    Need more of this. Thx for sharing.

    1. DJL

      I read this. You can just hear the Liberals cheering in the rafters! “The End of White Christian America- Yeah!” The guy is so excited he is doing a book tour. Sorry – For this group to call themselves unbiased and non-partisan is a huge pile of crap.No surprises in here. Anyone who goes to church on a regular basis is aware of the demographic changes. And given the media’s 24/7 assault on organized religion for the last 30 years – the 47% is still pretty good.

      1. mikenolan99

        Sigh… interesting that you come from a standpoint of “good” or “bad”, and somehow think this is a partisan issue.

        1. DJL

          I think you missed my point. I am just pointing out that these “studies” almost always have a political agenda. I didn’t make this a partisan issue. The parties themselves have done this. And it is no secret that it is generally the “left” that gets excited about the decline of white Christian america in any capacity.So why did you post this in the first place? Wasn’t that your point?

          1. mikenolan99

            Not my point at all – Diversity is increasing in America – and, a national brand using a bi-lingual rendition of “This Land” is an example of this. Diversity is also seen the shift in beliefs… I don’t think less Christians (still about 2/3rd) is bad or good – it just is. Will have social and economic ramifications.For the record, I was an FCC license holder, and my family was in broadcasting for 40+ years. Never once did we assault Christianity….

          2. DJL

            I agree. Diversity is fact – neither good nor bad. But to be intellectually honest, there are some groups (not you, obviously) that celebrate the dwindling influence of “WASP” America.For the record – my church is now about 25% white, 25% Indian, 25% Asian and 25% Hispanic.. But inside we are all one nation, under God.Thanks to your family for not coming after us! Many in the modern media are not so gracious.

          3. awaldstein

            Diversity is by definition goodness in my book.

          4. Jeremy Shatan

            From the standpoint of genetics and evolution, diversity is a necessity for survival. I think it’s necessary for society as well!

          5. awaldstein


          6. jason wright

            yes, but there has to be a process. undocumented millions is not it.

          7. sigmaalgebra

            Yes, genetics and a healthy population need a large enough gene pool to avoid the problems of inbreeding and, at some times of massive disaster that threatens to wipe out a whole population, have enough variety to be adaptive.Since the US population is well over 300 million people and quite diverse already, the idea that the US needs more diversity to have a large enough gene pool is total, made up, cooked up, stirred up, faked up, upchuck, brain-dead, ignorant, hysterical nonsense — it’s political and propaganda manipulation.The “diversity” being promoted now has nothing to do with doing better on genetics, the gene pool, avoiding inbreeding, threats of disaster, etc. Nothing.That currently promoted diversity is fuming, flaming, reeking, toxic sticky stuff and, really, lots of matches and fuses to start street riots and civil wars.For what that currently promoted diversity is about, do the usual, follow the money. Also, add the corollary, look at the desire for political power.The “diversity” being promoted now is 99 44/100% just an excuse for having the US import a lot of poor people. The Republicans want them as a source of cheap labor, to work but not vote, and the Democrats want them as more reason for a welfare state, to vote but not work.A few, a tiny fraction, of people want something, maybe of something like some form of diversity, to block some threats of tyranny of the majority, in case the US gets an overwhelming, uniform, majority. In the US, there’s no chance of such a majority, not even Connecticut Episcopalians descended from English, idle rich, fox hunting, House of Lords, landed gentry.The promoted diversity is a long list of threats about money and power; the power threat is the worst, and on this point on 11/8/2016 the US narrowly dodged a very serious bullet.Some of the other threats are violent street riots and mostly non-violent civil wars that might turn very violent, and currently we are in both.As we see clearly already, there are more threats from drug addiction, street crime, a lot more money for police protection, broken families and poor parenting, students failing in schools, much more in communicable disease such as TB, polio, Bubonic plague, HIV, syphilis, etc. Really ugly stuff.The people who want the promoted diversity have been manipulated, fooled, and taken in by the politics and propaganda and have become convenient idiots, pawns, and cannon fodder infantry in service of the people with money and power who want more of both.Are we learning yet?

          8. DJL

            Try not to confuse people with facts! They have already made up their minds. The Liberal thought machine has run over them.

          9. jason wright

            yes, and yet Darwin shows that biological diversity originates in isolationism. that is the irony of multiculturalism. it can only exist as a result of an earlier epoch of ‘monoculturalism’.The American ‘melting pot’ idea appears from the outside looking in to have been overstated. there still appears to be significant demarcation across the social and economic landscape of the USA.

          10. Arnold Waldstein

            Disagree from my own melting pot experience.

          11. jason wright

            ‘nutshell’ – this is probably the reason why America is in such a mess. the neo liberal metropolitan classes (which you may or may not be a member of) see things from their narrow perspective and experience, and not the perspective and experience of the many millions who are clearly ‘disenfranchised’ by decades of neglect, and why Trump is so despised by the same neo liberals and media, who by definition do not live the lives of the ‘many millions’, be they white, black, or ‘pantone’. Fred passed on Airbnb, and because he’s a very comfortably off white middle aged metropolitan, unable to see that out there is a whole other class of people for whom Airbnb works very nicely.”All I know is this: once I was blind and now I can see.”

          12. awaldstein

            “neo liberal metropolitan classes”With all due respect clueless what this jargon means and honestly, Sunday offers more I hope than rehashing this.I respect your opinion as a long-term community member but don’t see a lot of forward looking value for me to engage with it.I’d rather take a walk, write and work towards the future and enjoy this beautiful Sunday in the city.You should as well.

          13. jason wright

            bike ride completed. a bit of a blustery experience, but well worth up on Noam Chomsky’s work, on the public relations industry (invented in New York City to serve the interests of the metro neo liberal class), and the mass media. always be learning.

          14. awaldstein

            😉 NIce.We walked this morning to chat. Up and to the top of the High Line, through Chelsea and the village to get some bone broth and now some work unfortunately.Have a great one.

          15. LE

            national brand using a bi-lingual rendition of “This Land” is an example of thisIf you look at some old Johnnie Walker ads you will see that they tried to convey a social purpose at least as early as the 60’s. (See google images).So in all honesty, like anything else that comes out Madison avenue, this is just a company using marketing to increase sales.There are other more subtle things that are done in pharma ads. There is an Otezla commercial (only one example) that includes what appears to be lesbians at the very end of the commercial. Most likely many people would miss that unless it was their demographic. It honestly has nothing to do with anything (LGBT support) but creating advertising that they think will work and help them sell product. The fact that it’s not super obvious to me indicates they are not looking to offend anyone.In the case of the JW commercial, melding it with music would tend to make it more acceptable to a wider variety of people who may object to the point it may be trying to make.

      2. Salt Shaker

        I say this w/ due respect, but it’s startling how frequently you view things solely through a political prism. No one on this thread said anything about liberals vs. conservatives, good vs. bad, or stated emphatically that groups like the PRRI often have a political agenda. Their results seem to be fact based, while your observations or insinuations are not. Perhaps there’s some add’l info you’d care to share? The PRRI–an org I’m not the least bit familiar with, so I’m hardly an advocate–say they’re “a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to conducting independent research at the intersection of religion, culture, and public policy.” (One finding of theirs is that 24% believe God will determine the SB winner, which made me ponder my SB bet just a tad. Hardly sounds like a liberal agenda there, no?) It’s sad that religious beliefs are so often intertwined w/ politics, it’s even sadder that politics has permeated virtually every aspect of society, even when not welcome or necessarily warranted. Just sayin.

        1. DJL

          Well, this is 100% on purpose. And here’s why:There are many millions in our society who are not aware that 90% of “news” is now politicized in some way. People are being fed “facts” that are essentially propaganda. I did not create this. (I wish I was that powerful). But I am aware of it. I don’t like it. And I am going to call it when I see it.Another thing that sets off my radar is political hypocrisy, which I’m sorry to say is rampant here on AVC. People throwing out “facts” that are well known political ideas and then acting offended when someone challenges them. This example is perfect.Fred leads with a “music” post that is dripping with political overtones. (Do you believe that he is just talking about a great band and that it has nothing to do with their message?) And then mr99 (probably unaware) provides a link to a web site that is blatantly liberal. (See my other post). How on earth do you go from a booze ad to a web site that trumpets the decline of white Christians? Seriously? And then when I point this out – he goes “Sigh,….” and laments the fact the I have made the issue political. And then here you come too…So Fred leads, he follows (further down the political path) and then I am the “bad guy” who looks through everything through a political lens. (As you noted.) I’m sorry – but that is just plain, self-righteous political hypocrisy.There is a culture war going on. My children are being fed politically motivated crap and told it is gospel fact. For me – I am fighting back. Even if in my own little part of the blog-a-sphere. So thanks for asking…

          1. Salt Shaker

            This is a marketing message to drive sales and brand imagery for Johnny Walker. Premium scotch users today are white, young, urbane and socially/culturally aware. Diversity and acceptance are messages that likely will resonate w/ the values of the brand’s current and prospective user base. I’m pretty sure that was the extent of their thinking. It has nothing to do w/ the decline of white Christian values, fake news, liberal cheering, etc. Are they perhaps being opportunistic and exploitative of topical news? Of course, but that’s what marketing does. This is a marketing message, not a political statement. And for whatever it’s worth, I do value and welcome reading conservative points-of-view on this blog, as long as it’s contextual and not too emotionally based.

    2. Chimpwithcans

      This line was a headscratcher: …”16% of religiously unaffiliated Americans nonetheless report that they identify as a “religious person.”…??

      1. Susan Rubinsky

        That’s not a headscratcher. Let’s say someone was brought up Catholic but then decided to leave the church but never identified with another religion; that person could still identify as religious. I know lots of recovering Catholics who would identify as this.

        1. sigmaalgebra

          Earlier today in a few minutes at Wikipedia, I finally got to begin to understand Bell’s inequality and what it says about the Einstein-Podolsky-Rozen (EPR) paper and am so amazed that maybe I should move into that 16%! The math at the Wikipedia page is nearly a total train wreck, but it’s better than the 100% total train wreck of the attempt at that math in the YouTube copies of the MIT course on quantum mechanics!E.g., at Wikipedia, they have a random variable as an element of a probability space. WOW! Tilt! Total nonsense! No such thing is possible! They write out an integral with respect to a measure but in the notation omit the measure! It goes on this way!

        2. Chimpwithcans

          Got it. I was thinking along the lines of “if you’re religiously unaffiliated then you’re by definition not religious. Spiritual maybe, but not religious “…didn’t think about upbringing and aftershocks of conversion.

    3. Susan Rubinsky

      Thank you for sharing this. this is in alignment with trends that Pew research has been monitoring for years. Can’t wait to dig in.

      1. DJL

        But let’s please not be naive and think this is pure data without politics. Check out their other “headline” 40% of Americans support Impeaching Trump (…Seriously, this is left-wing propaganda disguised as “research”. Follow the money.

        1. sigmaalgebra

          > Follow the money.I’d like to use DRM to charge you for use of those words, but I got them from an old movie!

        2. mikenolan99

          And at the same time, we must admit our own “lens” is biased as well. We must all be wary of our own confirmation bias.

  12. falicon

    Well played.Music has an insanely emotional connection with people…the smartest brands in the world are getting *really good* at highjacking some of that affinity for themselves.(and many bands are waking up to the fact that com. lic. of some of your stuff to brands is, one of the very few remaining, financial home runs still in the music industry).Shameless, related, plug: Helping brands use data about audio and how it emotionally resonates with their target audiences (like this ad does), is what my startup, Veritonic, is all about ( )

    1. LE

      Music creates emotion. Creating emotion helps you sell and overcome obstacles. As most people already know, when you want to be rational about buying something you try to keep emotion out. That is why it’s good for marketing to use emotion. A positive emotion is like a high. It allows you to overcome obstacles in thinking (unfortunately not always for the better).

      1. Richard

        It’s a great ad, particularity since Johnny Walker is not an American company

      2. sigmaalgebra

        “Music”? There was some actual music in that video clip? That noise? You GOTTA be kidding!Emotion there? Sure, an upchuck!I’ve posted links to a LOT of actual music in this blog.

        1. LE

          I hope it’s ok to say this, but personally I prefer videos that have at least one attractive woman in the band.Here is one from an ELO concert in the UK:

          1. sigmaalgebra

            So, you like music with pretty girls, young women, women, females, whatever terminology is sufficiently politically correct at the moment!Okay, there is violinist Julia Fischer.At…she gives something of a spectacular performance of Winter from the famous Vivaldi, The Four Seasons. She’s a really good violinist.I like that music, but it is early, from about the beginning of classical music.For something later, at…is Fischer playing theMendelssohn Violin Concerto E Minor OP.64Her music is good, but as a practical matter she might think more about what her music will sound like to someone in the back of a large concert hall or, at times, even someone just 15 feet away. In a music practice room, no problem.At,…a really bad day — you don’t want one of those. For the US, not its best day — Puccini, Madama Butterfly, “Un bel dì, vedremo,” Renata Scotto.Most moving performance by a female vocalist in the history of the solar system?At…153K views, it’s gorgeous, breathtaking, over the top gorgeous,Renata Tebaldi in Puccini’s Tosca “Vissi d’arte”.Just imagine what the looked like 20 years younger, but her singing, did I mention, just gorgeous.Callas? Okay, fantastic,…Right, no words needed.You don’t want to have a day like that; trust me.Sure, closer to that day, there were at least two, is what Wotan was going through with a really good James Morris performance at…Most moving performance by a male vocalist in the history of the solar system?I lost her, still in love with her, and can still feel that way.Sure, can’t omit two pretty ones singing drop dead gorgeous music,…Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Ileana Cotrubas sing “Sull’aria” from Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro.At…isAnna Netrebko, “Solveig’s Song”, Edward Grieg.To my ear, the music, especially her singing, are really good.Starting at about 1:00 is a still image of her — a definite dish!At…isElina Garancas singing Camille Saint Saens “Mon coeur s’ouvre à ta voix” from Samson et Dalila.I like it a lot; I bet Samson liked it, too!For some more, from Mascagni, opera Cavalleria Rusticana, there is…Sure, there can be some Renée Fleming, from the opera Thaïs as at…For both Garancas and Netrebko, there is the Offenbach Barcarolle as at…For more from those two, at…isde Delibes, Lakmé, “Flower duet”, Anna Netrebko and Elina Garanca.For the really sweet stuff, 1.6M views, sure, Sarah Brightman, “O Mio Babbino Caro” from the Puccini opera Gianni Schicchi as at…For two more pretty ones,Richard Strauss, Der Rosenkavalier “Presentation of the Rose”,Anne Sophie von Otter (Octavian) and Barbara Bonney (Sophie) asat…For more, there isJohann Strauss II, Blue Danube,Vienna Philharmonic at…So, there’s a super nice performance of that music, from where else, Vienna, but with a ballet, with pretty girls, and a story!The story is, say, some fantasy about, say, sixth grade dancing class. The girls might be a little older than that but not much. There are four boys, but they are there just as jokes in the story; they are impossibly socially awkward, terrified of the girls, while the girls are really gracious!So, you get to see what you like best, the music, the dancing, the girls, the story, being reminded some of what the sixth grade was like, why fathers often treat their daughters like angels, etc.

  13. Rob Lalonde

    great share thanks!!off to LA next week.

  14. harris497

    Beautiful and well timed!

  15. Rob Underwood

    insert comment about Phish and what Phish music would be used to sell with possible reference to Andy liking Phish but not Fred

    1. fredwilson

      Andy likes me 😉

  16. aminTorres

    In the next AVC meetup in, say 2025, right before these guys are completely “unaffordable” we should have them play some music while we sample some fine wine. Just an idea. ;)Ps: I dont drink alcohol but I do a good job at faking it while holding a glass with water.

    1. creative group

      aminTorres:There are a few posters bases upon their views of people who don’t look or think like them we have no desire to ever be in the same room. A meet up with that ilk wouldn’t be productive. Words do matter.

      1. aminTorres

        er… my comment was in jest… Fred hosted a meetup many years ago at USV, a bunch of people went, first time I met William, Shana and others… a fun time. (May have been the first time I met Fred in person)But if this idea makes the group uncomfortable, I can bet that in this hypothetical case, attendance to such event wont be mandatory. Feel free to stay home.

  17. AJ Huaranca

    I love this! Thank you Fred

  18. LE

    Great ad and great rendition of the song. I’d like to know what it cost to produce that ad [1] and in particular what the artists are paid. That said it’s obviously exploitative.[1] Very well done and nice shots. If money mattered they probably could have cut done on 20 to 30% of the shots.

    1. Richard

      My guess is that the costs for the editing / post production work exceeds the costs of filming.

    1. Susan Rubinsky

      LOVE her. so sad she’s gone.

  19. Kirsten Lambertsen

    This is exactly what I need today. Thanks, man! Got a new band to listen to, also, which to me is like being handed an overflowing chest of treasure.

  20. Kenneth Goldman

    In the spirit of moving forward together, I want to turn on the AVC community to a guy named Michael Hurley, a corporate manager with a great sense of humor who always writes beautifully (and briefly) about organizational life in his blog WeMoveTogether.

  21. jason wright

    one interesting counterpoint to this discussion is that the number of wealthy Americans renouncing their US citizenship is at new record levels. as the poor arrive the rich depart. a dysfunctional nation state?

  22. Pointsandfigures

    learned this song in third grade. Sang it almost every day. My dad was getting his PhD and we were living in Salt Lake. I was the only kid in the class that wasn’t from there.

  23. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:It appears the someone may have taken the Ad/Commerical literally and partaken in the comsumption of Johnnie Walker. :-)It is Saturday the 9 September 2017 already.AVC withdrawals when blog topic post is delayed.

  24. Keenan

    Perfect! Absolutely love it and YES very timely.