Johnnie Walker

Footsteps of Progress: Empowering women in Eastern Europe

With its 120+ year-long commitment to driving progress, Johnnie Walker wanted to extend its purpose to Eastern European drinkers—specifically women. 

In partnership with DEPT® and Publicis Groupe Hungary, they launched Footsteps of Progress, a creative campaign beyond business growth. It created meaningful conversations about gender roles and societal progress in Eastern Europe.

Breaking barriers

Despite the prevalence of female whisky drinkers in Eastern Europe, ads across the region remain largely masculine, reflecting a deep-rooted perception of whisky as a part of “man’s world.” 

In response, Johnnie Walker embarked on a mission to support women across Eastern Europe.

The objective was to drive relevance with female whisky drinkers in the saturated and competitive Eastern European market. Yet, we needed to work within the brand’s standards, i.e., “Keep Walking.”

After spending time with locals, it was clear that women’s paths are chosen for them in Eastern Europe. Their time is spent on being who they must be, not who they could be. 

Our challenge was to disrupt these long-standing narratives and empower women to carve their own paths. 

Footsteps of Progress

The movement had to come from local women themselves. As we spoke with them, one thing stood out: local female role models–inspiring teachers, moms, inventors, politicians, and rockstars remained footnotes.

Joined by local celebrities, we handed women the mic to share their stories of progress, launching Footsteps of Progress to showcase the untold achievements of Eastern European women. 

We utilized both online and offline platforms to bring these stories to light. Leveraging AR experiences and influencer partnerships, we sparked a much-needed conversation about female empowerment in the region.

But we didn’t stop there. We also launched Sneaker of Progress, a special edition shoe. Each shoe box featured a tearable ribbon, symbolizing the breaking of barriers. All profits from the shoes went to local female empowerment groups in the region, making Footsteps of Progress an unstoppable catalyst for change.

johnnie walker’s campaign for supporting women in eastern europe


The movement resonated beyond the streets, igniting events and generating significant media buzz. It amplified the conversation about gender roles and societal progress in Eastern Europe while having a considerable business impact. Major magazines like Elle picked up on it, and local Eastern European celebrities joined the conversation. 

The brand lift increased on average by +10% across Eastern Europe. During the campaign, Johnnie Walker’s net sales value grew everywhere, peaking at +77% in Bulgaria and +99% in Romania. 




earned media


in brand lift across Eastern Europe


Creative Director

João Inácio

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