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Johnnie Walker unveils Bold Steps campaign

Diageo-owned Johnnie Walker has launched its Bold Steps campaign, featuring a short film starring Bridgerton actor Simone Ashley.

Johnnie Walker
Bridgerton star Simone Ashley features in the Bold Steps short film

The campaign will support Diet Paratha’s Family Tree Mentoring — a programme aimed at British South Asians looking to break into or advance in creative industries.

To mark the collaboration, a short film has been produced featuring British-Indian actress Simone Ashley, who has starred in Netflix shows Bridgerton and Sex Education.

Diet Paratha founder Anita Chhiba commented: “It’s been a privilege to continue on from the work that we have been doing with the Diet Paratha community in such a powerful way.

“Especially with the support of someone as incredible as Simone, who has broken boundaries, not only on a global stage but whose presence has given much needed hope and inspiration for people of South Asian heritage all over the world.”

The Bold Steps campaign builds on Johnnie Walker’s Keep Walking ‘spirit of progress’, and will establish a new round of Diet Paratha’s Family Tree Mentoring programme to ‘empower the next generation of talent’ in creative industries.

This involves inviting artists and designers to create a limited edition bottle design, with the winner of the competition receiving a cash prize and one-to-one mentoring.

The winning artist of the bottle design will see their creation brought to life on a Johnnie Walker Black Label bottling.

Chhiba added: “We’re so proud to work with Johnnie Walker, an iconic brand with generational ties to many of our community.

“Our shared mission to further cultural progression and ensure authentic representation on this campaign, as well as the sponsorship of our mentoring programme, serves as a fantastic example of how brands can work with different communities, to help platform authentic stories which create meaningful change.”

The brand will continue to support the Diet Paratha Family Tree Mentoring programme with mentorships for five more individuals throughout 2023.

Directed by filmmaker Kajal, the Bold Steps short film will be released on 1 February.

“Lift up the community”

Ashley said: “I am proud to join Anita, Kajal and the Johnnie Walker team to lift up the community that I am part of — and to keep the door open for the people that follow.

“I was drawn to the ‘Bold Steps’ initiative as I know the power of seeing others who look like me at the table and in the room.”

The film is set in an ‘unshakeably bold Johnnie Walker universe’, and aims to defy ‘traditional whisky stereotypes’, and provide a platform to the those who are inspiring progress.

The head of Johnnie Walker and single malts, Pranay Chandra, added: “Anita and Simone are both trailblazers paving the way for future generations of creatives and using their platforms for real, meaningful change.

“Given Johnnie Walker’s huge cultural resonance across the globe, our brand really resonates with the South Asian community in the UK — a group too often left out of the national cultural narrative, and we are so proud of our diverse customer base.

“One of Johnnie Walker’s global goals is to celebrate and stand up for representation and progression and we are proud to put the power of the ‘Keep Walking’ platform in the hands of the community.”

To watch a sneak preview of the short film, click below.

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