Diageo marks Year of the Dragon with limited-edition Johnnie Walker Blue Label
Leading Scotch whisky Johnnie Walker has unveiled a new Johnnie Walker Blue Label Lunar New Year Limited Edition Design, created by one of the world’s most influential visual artists, Asian-American artist James Jean.
Diageo Global Travel (GT) is celebrating the collaboration with a series of high-profile digital activations in airports ahead of the start of the Year of the Dragon on Saturday, February 10.
Along with a stand-out campaign at Incheon Airport, Diageo GT is running a series of activations throughout various channels globally including airports in Seoul, Singapore, Taipei, Hainan, Hong Kong. The promotions are said to “embrace the hope and excitement of this special holiday with beautiful imagery brought to life through immersive digital experiences and vividly realized advertising”.
The vivid design for the Year of the Dragon features an innovative and dynamic interpretation of 2024’s zodiac animal, the Wood Dragon. Regarded by many as the mightiest of all the zodiac animals, the dragon is symbolic of life and creativity as well as a portent of future prosperity in traditional Asian culture, echoing the optimism of the Johnnie Walker motto, Keep Walking. In James’ layered illustrations the evergreen Wood Dragon appears to come to life from bountiful flora and fauna.
Jean is renowned for his ability to work across different genres with an imaginative and multifaceted approach to image making. He fuses contemporary subjects with aesthetic techniques inspired by traditional Chinese scroll paintings, Japanese woodblock prints, and Renaissance portraiture. Jean was born in Taipei, raised in New Jersey, and attended the School of Visual Arts in New York. He recently collaborated with a number of Hollywood directors on promotional posters for several award-winning high-profile films.
“With Johnnie Walker Blue Label Lunar New Year, we wanted to create a dragon that felt different, new and innovative - respect for the past but also looking into the future with optimism; in the same way that Johnnie Walker stands for progress through that incredible Keep Walking spirit,” he said.
“The Year of the Dragon is rich in symbolism and tradition in Asia. Many consider the dragon the most powerful animal in the Chinese Zodiac and the Wood Dragon felt remarkably close to me because of the natural elements prevalent in my own work. Evolved from traditional depictions of Chinese dragons, my dragon is composed of flowers and organic elements, from which emerge tendrils and arcing lines, evoking the idea of roots and connection.”
James, who currently lives in Los Angeles, sought inspiration for his designs from the layers of flavour that Johnnie Walker Master Blender Emma Walker and her team bring to Johnnie Walker Blue Label. The whisky is made using some of the rarest whiskies from the unparalleled Johnnie Walker reserves of maturing Scotch, including some irreplaceable casks sourced from long-closed ‘ghost’ distilleries.
“There are hidden elements in the picture as well – layers to be discovered, just like the layers in this incredible whisky,” Jean added. “I included chrysanthemums, from which flow liquid gold - inspired by Johnnie Walker whiskies - and hummingbirds sipping on the precious nectar. I want the viewer to peel back the layers and discover more about the image. I want my work to function from far away but reveal more details the more closely you explore the imagery.”
Johnnie Walker Global Marketing and Innovation Director, Joao Matos, commented, “James Jean's remarkable interpretation of the Wood Dragon for Johnnie Walker Blue Label Lunar New Year captures the essence of tradition and innovation. Just as Johnnie Walker embodies progress with our 'Keep Walking' spirit, James has beautifully blended respect for the past with an optimistic look towards the future. His dragon, crafted from flowers and organic elements, is a symbol of the power of creativity and connection. We're thrilled to celebrate the Year of the Dragon with this exquisite, limited edition design.”
James Jean also designed artwork for the Lunar New Year John Walker & Sons XR 21 limited edition design. All Johnnie Walker Lunar New Year limited edition designs are available in selected markets globally.
High impact media placements are positioned in check-in and departure lounges of key airport locations including Dubai, Seoul, Jeju, Singapore, Hainan, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Bangkok, Tokyo, Sydney, Melbourne and New York.