On Sept. 10, Diageo brand Johnnie Walker Blended Scotch Whisky took over the Altman Building in New York City and transformed it into the House of Walker experience where it hosted two tastings of its iconic liquor. Guests registered in advance or were invited through a cooperating organization and were advised to arrive early so the line would move more smoothly. While in line, brand ambassadors chatted with waiting guests and helped them confirm the registration information and answer a series of behavior-related questions on a row of iPad tablet stations. Once the entry survey was done, it was time to stamp the hand, pass the security guard and get back in line. This line was for a further confirmation, a few more questions and two free drink chips, and finally a move down the stairs to the tasting bar.
In the basement bar, the brand decorated the walls with important dates in the company’s history and offered attendees comfy chairs and couches to sit on. A museum display of some of most rare and expensive Walker bottles graced one wall, and hors d’oeuvres filled a table at the back. The centerpiece of the area was of course the bar. At the 6 p.m. tasting, only the basic brands, Johnnie Walker Black and Red labels, were available. Attendees at the 10 p.m. event were graced with the brand’s top shelf Green, Gold and Blue labels. After tasting the whisky on offer, it was back up the stairs, but not before stopping at the photo activation station for a quick pic with two pretty brand ambassadors. During each brand interaction throughout the event, a social media push was ever present. Signage everywhere invited guests to “Brag” about the event on Facebook and Foursquare; the photo activation invited attendees to post the pic to Facebook, too. In addition to New York City, Walker tastings traveled all over the U.S. during the month of September.
“The House of Walker experience offers people an interactive journey through the Johnnie Walker portfolio,” Dan Kleinman, marketing director at Diageo, told Buzz. “We’re really taking the conversation online, too, and these tools provide a great way to communicate with the Johnnie Walker fan base.”