Johnnie Walker and Virtue APAC create a new blend of Southeast Asia’s street culture with ‘Walk Beyond’ creative collaborations
Johnnie Walker has teamed up with Virtue APAC to launch, ‘Walk Beyond’, a brand platform spotlighting the progressive blend of creative cultures born from the streets of Southeast Asia.
Where Asia previously looked to the west to define street culture, an emerging generation of fluid, curious and bold multi-hyphenates are setting their own agendas of self-expression and using their newly found creative power to redefine street culture across the region.
With strategy and creative development led by Virtue APAC, ‘Walk Beyond’ places Johnnie Walker’s legendary brand philosophy of ‘Keep Walking’ inside culture, giving it fresh meaning, cultural credibility and relevance to a new generation of changemakers in Asia.
A content series, featuring unexpected collaborations between established cultural icons and up-and-coming trailblazers across Singapore, the Philippines and Vietnam, brings together different communities to create new genres and champion new narratives to enrich street culture across Southeast Asia.
Lyndon Govender, Diageo Southeast Asia marketing director said: “The Johnnie Walker philosophy, ‘Keep Walking’ stands for positivity, progress and resilience. The ‘Walk Beyond’ collabs are a tangible demonstration of that sentiment; a simple, yet powerful idea that brings together different changemakers to champion collective progress, uniting these authentic voices to empower a new generation.”
Johnnie Walker and Virtue partnered with three local ‘Walkers’, each of them a cultural icon in their own right – Yung Raja, a Singaporean breakthrough dubbed Southeast Asia’s next avant-garde bilingual hip-hop artist; James Reid, an actor turned musician, artist, manager and entrepreneur innovating and changing the game of Original Pilipino Music (OPM); and 16Typh, a Vietnamese rapper and songwriter who has put Vietnamese rap on the global map.
These established multi-hyphenates have been paired with a curated set of up-and-coming change agents to create a bold expression of local street culture in the following ways:
Singapore: Hip Hop meets Drag
Singapore’s maturing hip hop scene is bursting through the streets with evocative, provocative but often macho aplomb. Diametrically opposite in tone and maturity is the country’s nascent, but colorful and diverse, drag culture.
Yung Raja partners with legendary drag queen Salome Blaque to create ‘Drag Hop’, blending two genres to bring a new dimension to the hip-hop and drag scenes, shining a spotlight on inclusivity and self-expression.
Philippines: Pop meets Roller Skating
Skate squads in the Philippines are unique and free-wheeling, championed by women who use the streets as an inclusive playground for their art. Often perceived as a ‘softer’ form of street-art, the Filipinas wheeling around on their quads don’t get the attention afforded to other male dominated street culture pursuits.
Infusing the creativity of Pinoy-popstar James Reid and Manila’s leading skate-crew, The Skatebomb Girls, ‘Rhythm and Roll’ blends the soulful synths and spirit of Pinoy-Pop with the free-spirited colours and choreography of skaters to make a statement in Pinoy street culture.
Vietnam: Rap meets Stand Up
Rap is a thriving cultural expression in mainstream Vietnam, contrasted to the lacklustre support for homegrown comedy that is still in its early days. Traditional comedy is slapstick and open-mic nights are often scorned due to a lack of appreciation for this art form.
Leveraging the commonalities between rap & stand up, rapper 16Typh and comedian Phuong Nam come together to create ‘Stand-up Cypher’ a unique set that brings stand-up to the masses. Inspired by the stories of the streets and the creative wordplay of both genres, Stand Up Cypher is a never-seen-before collaboration that celebrates the unique flavors of Saigon’s street culture.
The ‘Rap Meets Stand Up’ film will be released in June.
Chris Gurney, group creative director at Virtue APAC, said: “‘Walk Beyond’ empowers and celebrates the voices of an emerging generation of multi-hyphenate artists who are transforming the region’s streets into a dynamic and diverse cultural melting pot. The collaboration between established icons and up-and-coming trailblazers creates a new narrative for self-expression, authenticity and progress that we believe will inspire and shape the future of street culture in Southeast Asia.”
‘Walk Beyond’ will feature on VICE Media, which managed talent, the collaborative output and production for the campaign. In addition to the digital amplification, on the ground activations in Singapore, Philippines and Vietnam will bring the ‘Walk Beyond’ content series to life for consumers to experience the Johnnie Walker’s ‘Keep Walking’ spirit, with updates to come.
Agency: Virtue APAC
Business Director: Victoria Fernandez
Account Director: Germaine Ng
Senior Account Manager: Isabel Ong
Head of Strategy: Huiwen Tow
Strategy Director: Zoe Chen
Group Creative Director: Chris Gurney
Senior Creative: Dini Lestari
Head of Production: Ann May Chua
Talent, Production & Distribution: Vice
VP, Production: Sari Trisulo
Executive Producer, APAC: Paul Hextall
Production Manager: June Ismail
Talent Producer: Mark Garner
Series Director: Jonathan Huet
Creative Director: Avijit Pathak
Creative: Tushar Gidwani
Project Manager: Natalie Thomas
Project Manager: Jeannette Foo