Abhishek Shahabadi on the role of after-hour culture in Johnnie Walker marketing strategy

Sneha Yadav
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Johnnie Walker

With the launch of the #RevibeTheNight campaign to leverage the gradual unlock post the second wave, Johnnie Walker aims to bring back their after-hour culture. Abhishek Shahabadi reflects more on it.

Johnnie Walker rolled out #RevibeTheNight to re-energize the country’s after-hour culture. As part of the campaign, the brand brought together popular music artists like Divine, Ritviz, Lisa Mishra, Taba Chake along with popular indie bands like When Chai Met Toast and Mad Boy Mink among others to perform live across iconic community spaces in India.

We get in conversation with Abhishek Shahabadi, Vice President & Portfolio Head, Scotch & Premium whites, Diageo India to deep dive into the campaign thought and marketing objectives.

Responsible Advertising With #RevibeTheNight

Prior to the world going into lockdown, the after-hour culture in India bloomed at celebrated community hubs, that eventually became a safe haven for individuals. A place where they found their sense of self-expression and belonging that fuelled progress.


“This community was driven through the culture of live music and enthralling performances that created their very own vibe, a vibe that built extraordinary forever-lasting relationships,” says Abhishek Shahabadi. While the country was gradually unlocking, with most of the audiences heading close to getting fully vaccinated, Diageo India saw that the need is resoundingly consistent to relive those nights.

Championing Johnnie Walker’s ethos to forge forward towards community progress, the company wanted to re-energize after hours through a musical act that drives business and conversation around the brand.

Through #ReVibeTheNight, Johnnie Walker aims to reconnect with this community bringing them music curated by artists who have a history of captivating crowds with their one-of-a-kind live experiences. The campaign aims to achieve this through re-creating the after-hour culture at these iconic spaces across key markets in the country

Campaign Marketing & Media Mix

The campaign has gone live and will be active across social media platforms for two months as Johnnie Walker’s city takeovers in India come alive through #RevibeTheNight. The brand team has activated hotspots across metro cities and tier-II markets by artists who have a history of captivating crowds with their one-of-a-kind live experiences.

Shahabadi further informs that while the gigs have gone live, they have also planned for a digital campaign kickstarting a Reel Challenge on Instagram focusing on the bespoke service for the campaign– the Johnnie Walker Red & Ginger.

The video showcases Ritviz and Lisa Mishra vibing to a hook-step, on the new soundtrack created for the campaign while they whip up a Red & Ginger highball. The challenge has also been thrown open to audiences to hop on to the trend created by some of the popular faces across influencers on Instagram. With the insight of at-home occasions becoming the new way to celebrate, it has also led to the development of an Alexa skill.

In addition to this digital leg, the on-ground performance will also be supported by culture forward showcases and pop-ups hosted by new-age designers, flow artists, skateboarders, etc. to bring alive elements of #RevibeTheNight with Johnnie Walker

The campaign utilizes various formats across diverse platforms including various digital and social assets that are being mobilized to drive maximum reach.

Also Read: Surrogate Advertising: Brands that marketed alcohol without marketing the ‘alcohol’

Johnnie Walker Keeps Walking

The idea of 'Keep Walking’ has been at the brand's communication core for quite a long time. According to the company, the ideology has been inspiring people around the world with a message of progress and positivity for over 20 years.

“The latest chapter in the brand book begins as the world gradually reopens after a difficult 18 months. For over two centuries the brand has been committed to a spirit of progress and with #RevibeTheNight, Johnnie Walker aims to invigorate socializing albeit responsibly, as the world gets back to the new normal,” shares Shahabadi.

On-ground activations and music integrations have been a key component while creating a brand recall in this case. The after-hour culture is more than just a nightlife space in India. Audiences want to return to their safe havens, rebuild their bonds, relive experiences and gain new perspectives which enable them to move forward in life. 

Shababadi highlights, “#RevibeTheNight is a step in this direction, for communities to re-discover this vibe and spend time with their favorite music genres after their day’s hustle. By collaborating with the country’s trending music sensations, we aim to create a collective experience that transcends all boundaries for people to re-establish their connection with this culture.”

It's no news that marketing alcohol/beer has posed various challenges due to the restrictions imposed on its advertising. Surrogate or not, the digital medium has been one of the influential channels for generating brand recall and building it.

“With a substantial increase in digital consumption, content surely has been the forefront of our strategy,” says Shahabadi. “A big part of it has been about inviting consumers to understand how Johnnie Walker can be enjoyed in many different ways, be it straight drinks or delicious serves. Our drinks have been at the center of most of the content we’ve created.”

Currently, Johnnie Walker's social media pages boast of content churned around #RevibeTheNight following the red theme displays and influencer activations around the campaign.

Abhishek Shahabadi Johnnie Walker