We launched the incredible Johnnie Walker Princes Street visitor experience

We enabled Johnnie Walker fans around the world to celebrate the opening of its long-awaited visitor experience in Princes Street in Edinburgh, Scotland. Due to the pandemic, we developed a digital counterpart to the in-person launch, bringing the event to whisky fans, regardless of location, via a tailored, immersive digital experience based on Johnnie Walker’s ‘Journey of Flavour’ tour. The result? An amazing experience on a global scale, a first for the whisky industry.

The Challenge

To create an immersive environment echoing the physical visitor experience, adopting the best principles of gaming, together with fusing a more human IRL element into a digital platform for a global audience.

The Approach

Smyle enabled thousands of fans around the world to celebrate Johnnie Walker opening its much-awaited visitor experience – Princes Street in Edinburgh, Scotland, with a high-definition digital experience, something the drinks industry had never seen before. The pandemic meant that many of those who would have usually travelled to the live experience from around the globe (which we also delivered) could have been left disappointed. That is until we launched our digital experience tailored just for them.

Smyle put together an incredible team of in-game writers, storytellers, software architects, 3D / UX / UI designers together with video and post-production teams to create this unique experience in Unreal Gaming Engine. Guests could freely move around digital Princes Street to discover the brand’s historic story, interact with games, chat with others and find hidden easter eggs. The digital spaces contained exclusive elements that ensured online visitors had their own unique experience, different to those who attended in person, creating their unique digital Journey of Flavour.

“One off” Johnnie Walker tasting packs were delivered to our online guests and our sustainable drinks pioneer guided everyone through a mixology session that brought the Journey of Flavour to people’s lives all over the world combining IRL with our digital experience.

We brought a sense of true togetherness to the experience as we connected Johnnie Walker fans and friends, new and old across our digital bars with full screen video and stunning views of Edinburgh Castle recreating the real life environment.

Our chatbox for guests and ambassadors also created unique interactions for our visitors from EMEA, Americas and APAC regions, with each ambassador speaking local languages making everyone feel at home.

Smyle’s approach to this event meant online visitors were wholly included and given a first-class experience, meaning that this event was accessible for anyone not able to attend IRL, bringing a corner of Scotland into their rooms, irrespective of which continent they were in.

The Result

The event’s scale was impressive with a truly global audience of VIP customers, press, influencers, brand ambassadors and Johnnie Walker fans from 136 countries: 

  • 3,000 whisky profiles completed pre-event
  • Over 3,300 tickets booked worldwide – EMEA, APAC, the Americas
  • Over 2,000 in-session chats 
  • Over 500 onward visits to JWPS.com

Global launch coverage 

  • Retail sales 43% above target
  • 21,600 social interactions, 1,128 pieces of coverage
  • Johnnie Walker tour attendance exceeded predictions by 173%.
  • 2,509 new social followers 

Smyle’s technical expertise and unwavering focus meant we walked the fine line between creating a memorable online event enjoyed by all, and an experience that left Johnnie Walker fans wanting more.

Johnnie Walker now has the 3D in-game assets with ongoing conversations about how we bring this to e-commerce, creating a more immersive virtual shopping experience delivering additional activation ROI.

“As the dust settles physically and virtually, I wanted to say a massive thank you for all the creativity and passion that you showed as partners when bringing the virtual and physical launch of JWPS to life. […] we are very proud of what we have achieved together.

Thank you so much for your tenacity and for pushing us so that we could create something truly engaging for our teams, customers and partners around the world.”

– Anya Haarhoff, Global Luxury & Retail Director