Johnnie Walker recruits Lilly Singh to fight for female leadership

Diving brief:

  • Johnnie Walker has teamed up with comedian Lilly Singh to promote efforts to increase gender equality in leadership positions, according to a press release. The campaign is timed for Women’s Equality Day today (August 26).

  • The tie-up is the latest in the Scotch Whiskey Blend’s “First Strides” initiative which aims to support women in multiple aspects of society, including public service, entrepreneurship and athletics, among others.

  • Singh has written and produced original content to raise awareness for the “First Strides” program and highlight the unique challenges women face as they rise through the ranks of leadership.

Overview of the dive:

Johnnie Walker partners with women across multiple industries to increase its visibility among female drinkers, an ever-growing segment of the whiskey category. Marketer Diageo’s partnership with Singh is one of many initiatives planned for “First Strides”, which supports groups such as IFundWomen and She Should Run.

In a new video, Singh explains the disparities for women in the public and private sectors, saying “the future of women’s equality doesn’t exactly seem to be in women’s hands.” The YouTube creator and former late-night host cites data on the relatively low number of women in elected and corporate leadership positions, addressing the serious subject with light-hearted humor.

Although the ad does not address political issues outside of gender disparity, it follows the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, who put women’s rights in the national spotlight. The decision led to a surge of women registering to vote ahead of the midterm elections.

The content created with Singh comes just months after the Scottish brand tapped musicians Brittany Howard and Tia P. to produce the official Angel City Football Club anthem. The song, “Running with the Angels,” is the first original anthem written for an American women’s professional sports team.

“Johnnie Walker is committed to celebrating and enabling bold first steps that open the door for seconds and thirds to follow,” said Sophie Kelly, senior vice president of whiskeys at Diageo North America, in a press release. . “We are proud to support the meaningful work of partners IFundWomen, She Should Run, Black Girl Ventures and the ERA Coalition, among others, and hope to help them achieve their goals by creating positive change.”

With the latest leg of “First Strides,” Johnnie Walker reaffirmed her goal to help IFundWomen reach $1 million in grants for women-owned businesses by 2030. The brand’s work with She Should Run aims to inspire 250,000 women to take the first steps towards public leadership in the same time frame.

“First Strides” debuted earlier this year and grew out of a “First Women” campaign that launched in late 2020. The previous effort also worked with IFundWomen to fund female entrepreneurs.

Johnnie Walker has placed more emphasis on female empowerment in its advertising in recent years. In 2018, the distiller launched limited-edition Black Label products featuring “Jane Walker,” a feminine iteration of the company’s iconic walking man logo. It was blended by Johnnie Walker’s first female blend master, Emma Walker (no relation) and spirits sourced from Cardhu, also owned by Diageo, which flourished under the supervision of Elizabeth Cumming in the later 1800.

Mara R. Wilmoth