Johnnie Walker Black and Blade Runner
Johnnie Walker Black and Blade Runner 2049, Brand integration from 1982 – 2017
Blade Runner 2049 the much-anticipated sequel to the 1982 sci-fi classic Blade Runner opens October 6th 2017. With the original Blade Runner being frequently listed by directors, critics, actors and film fanatics as one of the Top 10, 50, 100 ‘must see’ films ever then the ‘sequel’ provides an (almost) once in a lifetime opportunity for brands.
Notable in the original film were the frequent brand appearances on neon billboards, with Ridley Scott positioning Atari the video game brand alongside RCA, Bell Phones, Cuisinart and Pan Am. Huge companies at that time, Scott was imagining the future, and in 1982, predicting a 2019 without Atari or Bell was like filmmakers today envisioning a future where Apple is no longer in existence.
The Blade Runner 2049 trailer is stuffed with striking shots but early on, one particular sequence stands out: a car zooming down a road, surrounded by illuminated, skyscraper-sized Atari logos. It’s an arresting image, but in 2017, it’s hard to perceive a universe where Atari even exists in the year 2049, let alone to the extent that Blade Runner 2049 presents.
Not so for Johnnie Walker though, a brand still as present today as it was in 1982.
One of the most iconic and memorable product placements in film ever are the appearances of NMG’s long standing client Diageo’s Johnnie Walker Black in Ridley Scott’s 1982 Blade Runner.
Consumed by the whisky loving Decard played by Harrison Ford, Johnnie Walker’s seamless natural placement into the fabric of the story is a perfect example of ‘future proofing’ a brand through the magic of the movies. The custom made futuristic bottle and label captured the fan’s imagination and a limited run were made available to the public.
The bottles still have a Holy Grail status for well-heeled collectors.
Thirty Five years on and Blade Runner 2049 sees the return of Harrison Ford’s Decard and introduces Officer K played by Ryan Gosling, the LA police department’s newest Blade Runner.
Johnnie Walker’s partnership with Blade Runner has more than stood the test of time and the brand looks likely to appear again within the context of Blade Runner 2049.
Additionally, Johnnie Walker is working in perfect partnership with the production promoting the film ahead of October 6th
Thus fans eagerly anticipating 2049 have had a ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ to step into the unique world of the film months before its theatrical release.
The Blade Runner 2049 Experience reproduces the movie’s setting, complete with the unique sounds, sights and atmosphere of Los Angeles in 2049. Presented by Alcon Entertainment in conjunction with Johnnie Walker, the activation was available to the public over Comic-Con weekend in San Diego held in July 2017.
The partnership allowed fans to get a privileged and exclusive look at the limited-edition Johnnie Walker Black Label the Director’s Cut bottle, inspired by the original, elusive prop from the first film. Participants were also able to engage in a Johnnie Walker whisky tasting experience.
In fact The Blade Runner 2049 exhibition at Comic Con (sponsored by Johnnie Walker) was the mostsubstantial Hollywood Studio creation at the event and Bibi’s Bar, silhouetted by the intriguing shadows of dancing figures, was undeniably the place to be especially as the house was serving three blends of whiskey in mini vials courtesy of the brand.
With Johnnie Walker making a perfectly pitched cameo appearance in the Blade Runner
2049 Behind The Scenes Footage https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbTP57MSqLo and with details of a Blade Runner limited-edition whiskey blend to be announced in the coming months this is an example of the perfect blend of product placement, brand integration and partnership which will continue to benefit the brand and the film for many more decades to come.