Poet Muriel Strode Would Not Be Sure Where Johnny Walker Red Goes

There was a time not long ago, when liquor ads had some sort of reserve in them, some sort of sophistication.

But our friends at one of Scotland’s most famous Scotch brands sort of went off the rails in a recent social media post. Notwithstanding the social idea that problem drinking is a problem, the ad is patently targeted at new, young drinkers.

The average drinker, who might have enjoyed a Johnny Walker, might just now say: “I think I have other, and better options.”

The social media post missed the mark in another way, other than being just plain annoying. It quoted from poet Muriel Strode, who is best known for the gentle poem Wind-Wafted Wild Flowers. What a thoughtful poet and quote, twisted into urban noise.


I will not follow where the path may lead, 

but I will go where there is no path,

and I will leave a trail.

Infinitely will I trust nature's instincts and promptings, 

but I will not call my own perversions nature.

My how far we come.

The brand will, of course, survive this silliness. Most of its regular drinkers won’t see the post, and the ones that do, will chalk it up to the noise of being relevant.

Mostly, however, any ad that targets youth this way demeans the brand. What Diageo needs to do, instead, is to show images of people well into their 20s, being clever, responsible and thoughtful. That would be an appropriate approach for a liquor company.

Rather like Muriel.

The brand has continued its move away from themes of Scotland and its own heritage. Over a decade ago, the Johnnie Walker brand moved from its native town of Kilmarnock, outraging fans.

The Johnnie Walker brands include Johnnie Walker Red Label, Black Label, Double Black, Green Label, Johnnie Walker High Rye Blended Scotch Whisky, Gold Label Reserve, Aged 18 Years and Blue Label. The brand sells over 19 million cases sold annually. The Walker brand is part of Diageo, maker of brands that include Crown Royal, Bulleit and Buchanan’s whiskies, Smirnoff, Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Casamigos, DeLeon and Don Julio tequilas, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Tanqueray and Guinness.


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