Nov 1, 2014

Explorers wanted

Still on the theme of making people feel good about themselves (which is pretty much the whole point of brands anyway), Johnnie Walker has been working hard to encourage businessmen and women to see themselves as Explorers. Doesn’t that sound a whole lot better than ‘number-crunching knowledge worker catching the last flight home’?

The Explorers’ Club promises that most clichéd but prized aspect of human desire – exclusivity. But you’ve got to earn it, by being prepared to get lost in the story of the journey. The storytelling of the POS has always been lavish, but in the latest manifestation the sense of actually going on the journey has been enhanced: Traditional explorer paraphenalia, a product display porthole and even a video diary are all ‘encased’ in a Louis Vuitton-esque trunk.

But this all feels like very safe exploration; supported by an entourage of servants and observed from the comfort of a First Class carriage on the Orient Express. Visceral it is not, so I don’t really feel how these exclusive blends are going to boost my Bear Grylls or Ranulph Fiennes factor. Clearly JW isn’t that kind of explorer, but then I’d like more of a handle on who it is, and why I should care.