This Johnnie Walker Commercial About Brothers Might Be The Best Ad Ever Made

This Johnnie Walker Commercial About Brothers Might Be The Best Ad Ever Made

In December of 2015 a ad for the Scotch whisky maker Johnnie Walker, hit the internet. It showed two brothers walking along Scotland’s Isle of Skye together, as a gentle voice is heard reciting a touching poem. By the time the one minute and thirty second visual is over, the possibility that you’ve either shed a tear or sat staring at the screen with your mouth open, is extremely high. To find out why, you’ll have to watch the video for yourself (see below), we wouldn’t want to ruin it for you.



The interesting thing about this particular Johnnie Walker TV ad, is that it wasn’t made by Johnnie Walker. Unlike their popular, high dollar ads “The Gentlemen’s Wager” starring actors Jude Law and Giancarlo Giannini, “Dear Brother” was made by two film students; for spec.

Daniel Titz and Dorian Lebherz, a pair of German film students at the Film Academy of Baden-Württemberg, created the mock commercial on their own. Which means two things at this point – great commercials can be made on a smaller budget and this pair of visionaries are already worth their weight in gold in the world of advertisement.

Johnnie Walker Commercial

©2016 Daniel Titz & Dorian Lebherz

Wanting to connect “emotional storytelling with cinematic imagery”, the pair considered how the Johnnie Walker brand used the Scottish countryside in their ads, as well as their former tag line, “Keep Walking”. Adding in a story of two brothers retracing the steps of their childhood together across the beautiful landscape to the sea, the final touch was narration.

That came from voice actor John “Bang” Riley. The middle aged filmmaker/poet is the voice heard narrating the touching poem in the ad, which he co-wrote with director Daniel Titz. Known for his poetic passion, using John for both the creation and delivery of those words, was a smart move. So fitting to the entire work, that by the time the ending is revealed, you are convinced they are the very words of one of the brothers. Which will have you going back to watch it all over again, just to concentrate on them.

Brothers Walking Together

©2016 Daniel Titz & Dorian Lebherz

 

 

The brothers in the ad are played by actors Mathew Lewis Carter and Robin Guiver from the London based agency Ashton Hinkenson. After going through a lot of candidates, the directors stated that as soon as they saw the pair they knew they had their brothers; “They portrayed that sensible authenticity we were looking for and when they met for the first time it really seemed as if they’d known each other their whole life. They had an inner connection that stood out to all of us“.

Before you read on about the making of the commercial, watch the ‘Johnnie Walker – Dear Brother’ video below.

Johnnie Walker “Dear Brother” Commercial

Great story telling, especially in film, requires the ability to create gaps that you hope viewers will fill in with their own imagination. You also want to give up just enough to keep their attention focused on the screen; two things that the German directors did extremely well. Daniel and Dorian explain the visual concept this way:

From the very beginning the camera work hints towards the ending. In the second shot John, the deceased brother, appears behind William out of focus. We wanted to shoot the film in a way that the framing would work even without John. In order to do so we decided to lose John in the framing from time to time or to let him disappear in the soft focus. The hints should be subtle and only come to attention when watching the film for the second time, other examples for this are John balancing on the bridge against the bright white sky or giving his glass a crack, making it less perfect. Only in the forest, when reality seems to catch up to William for a second and John disappears, you might wonder if something is not quite right. They spend their last night together in their parent’s house, allowing John to let go and William to move on“.

I wonder how many of you reading that, just went back to see if you notice the cracked glass.

Brothers ashes on cliff

©2016 Daniel Titz & Dorian Lebherz

There’s no denying that the main focal point from throughout the visual, is the package held close to the chest and treated with special care by the one brother, William. As you find out once he reaches the sea, now seen standing on the cliff alone, the “jute and cord” wrapped package was a jar containing the ashes of his sibling. Which he releases in the only spot he felt worthy to receive them; cue the tear filled eyes!

As far as what the actual Johnnie Walker brand had to say about the video, director Dorian told us they had seen it and liked it very much. The whisky maker has since moved on from their former slogan “Keep Walking” (which was used in ‘Dear Brother’), to “Joy Will Take You Further” and for that reason would probably not be buying the add. Which really doesn’t hurt either party; the film students created one hell of a business card with the ad and the brand got some incredible free publicity. I know grabbing a bottle of Johnnie Walker has been on my mind ever since I watched the video.

Daniel Titz and Dorian Lebherz are already at work on their next project, which we’ll be sure to keep an eye out for. The Johnnie Walker ‘Dear Brother’ wasn’t the pairs first venture either. Checking out the duo’s other work on their YouTube channel, is worth it.

Dear Brother Ad Dorian and Daniel

©2016 Daniel Titz & Dorian Lebherz

We put ‘Johnnie Walker – Dear Brother’ up there with some of the best tv commercials ever made. What they accomplish in just a minute and a half is pretty amazing. You won’t be forgetting it anytime soon.

Visit Dorian & Daniel Official YouTube

Photos: Courtesy of ©Daniel Titz and Dorian Lebherz

About author

Wayne Andres

Creator, Editor In Chief at DaysTune.com - "I went on a Twitter rant once; no one cared - Celebrities have all the fun".

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