Footsteps of Progress: Empowering women in Eastern Europe

In Eastern Europe’s male-dominated narrative, the achievements of women are often overshadowed, rendering the female trailblazers in various fields largely invisible to the young girls searching for role models in their society. 

Despite their substantial contributions, these vibrant women’s stories remain unheard. 

And as a brand that’s all about progress – and when the majority of Johnnie Walker’s drinkers in Eastern Europe are female -, we knew we had to do something about it.


“Footsteps of Progress” is a campaign for Eastern European women to showcase their achievements beyond traditional female stories. 

We brought unseen stories to light on and offline, with footsteps leading to an AR experience that became a force for female empowerment. We’ve kickstarted a much-needed conversation through influencers and in the media. 

And then we went one step ahead: creating a shoe as a symbol of collective progress, inspiring women to proudly step up for change, tear up limitations and change the narrative on equality.


The movement resonated beyond the streets, igniting events and generating significant media buzz, amplifying the conversation about gender roles and societal progress in Eastern Europe, while having a considerable business impact. Some highlights include:

  • 37M impressions
  • 1.1M of earned media
  • An engagement rate of 32% – 10 times the benchmark
  • 20% above benchmark traffic to the AR app, where hundreds of women shared their inspiring stories
  • Increase of 77% and 99% in two key markets (Romania and Bulgaria) in Net Sales Value
  • Brand lift average increase of 10% (with the highest being 20% within yet another key market: Hungary)

Big magazines like Elle picked up on it, local Eastern European celebrities spoke on the topic, and we even inspired officials like the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bulgaria to mention the topic in congress. All shoe proceedings went to local female empowerment groups in the region, making “Footsteps of Progress” an unstoppable catalyst for change.