Johnnie Walker x Rocking The Daisies a “Match Made In Heaven”

Johnnie Walker joined forces as headline sponsor with the popular Rocking the Daisies Festival this year upon its grand return to the eventing space and festival space on the continent. This partnership saw attendees enjoy the plethora of activities, music and Johnnie Walker cocktail serves throughout the weekend at Cloof Wine Estate, Darling & at the Springbok Park in Centurion on Sunday.


We sat down with Johnnie Walker Senior Brand Manager, Nana A. Osei-Appiah, and Brand Manager Sandiselwe Gamede to get insight on how the brand perfectly crafts its partnerships and further cement the Johnnie Walker brand’s cultural footprint on the continent

Who is Sandiselwe Gamede & Nana A. Osei-Appiah and how does he/she represent the Johnnie Walker brand?

[SANDI G]: My name is Sandiselwe Gamede, Brand Manager on Johnnie Walker. I’ve been part of the Johnnie Walker team since August 2020. Being part of an iconic brand like Johnnie Walker has been a major point of validation in the hard work I’ve applied in my journey. Considering that, the first time I worked for the brand was in a learnership with Brand House in their partnership with Diageo in 2014. Throughout this time the brand has always been inspirational and aspirational, so to become a custodian of such a powerful brand having been introduced it at the beginning of my career, is a very humbling experience. I now form a part of an amazing team that steers the brand forward as we add new meaning and dimensions to the iconic phrase “Keep Walking”.


As a kid from Soweto, seeing properties that use to seem so forgein and inaccessible to us, shift with Johnnie Walker festivals such as Rocking The Daisies in becoming more inclusive and widening the circle to more diverse groups like us to make our imprint has been an honour.


[NANA OA]: I have been part of the Diageo Marketing team working specifically on the Whisky category since 2019. I have been privileged to work on a few brands across Whisky. Working on Johnnie Walker is special because it highlights the importance of storytelling with a massive brand that comes with a wealth of heritage whilst still being relevant for a modern consumer in the South African Market.


What does the role of being Senior Brand Manager on such an iconic brand mean to you?


[NANA OA]: The world of whisky has been traditionally male dominated. In my role I have an opportunity to open up this world to a new generation of consumers in an authentic way. I get to tell the story of Johnnie Walker and its origins and the relevance of that story for a consumer who is seeking ways to live in a bold and meaningful way that makes their lives richer. In addition to this I am quite conscious and ardent about driving a narrative that focuses on inclusivity & diversity in a tangible way. For example, ensuring representation in our communications – I need our audience to be able to identify themselves with the brand in an authentic way.


Tell us about the Johnnie Walker’s partnership with Rocking The Daisies?


[SANDI G]: The partnership with Rocking The Daisies is honestly a match made in heaven. As a festival they bring in diverse artists from around the globe with the purpose of uniting people and to lead positive expression that catalyzes long lasting relationships and memories. When we talk about Keep Walking, we talk about taking bold steps to a richer life. A richer life not being seen through the monetary or career success but rather the richness of positive relationships, the good you bring to the world and always being optimistic in the steps taken in the world.


Daisies aligns with us quite well, as you’ve seen the campaign messaging of Keep Walking towards Music, Love & Memories and the Future is a shared ethos, and the seamlessness of our partnership is proof of our shared meaning in serving our consumers.


What are you aiming to achieve by facilitating the presence of whisky in festivals and RTD in particular? 


[SANDI G]: What we aim to do with this trailblazing whiskey is to shift the perception of whiskey desire beyond the boardroom, three-piece suit and the old adage of it being for the “old, pale and male”. We are showing why Johnnie Walker has stood the test of time, because it is for all people who want to win and want to see their peers thrive in life.


When we talk about Keep Walking there is no stagnancy in the identity of the brand, the brand has evolved with this young generation of South Africans who are afro-centric but global citizens we want to show them that this is the whiskey that represents who they are. It is a whiskey that is built to be enjoyed in any shape or form that represents them


Which is your favourite Johnnie Walker cocktail serve?

[NANA OA]: I really enjoy how versatile Whisky is as a liquid and how the bold flavors of Johnnie Walker Black can be enjoyed in different ways. I like to keep my serve simple – my default is Johnnie Walker Black with Tonic however when I am feeling adventurous, I enjoy a balance of sweet and spicy so that would be the Johnnie Walker Peach in a tall glass.


[SANDI G]: So, I can’t choose just one, I will forever love it (Johnnie Walker) on the rocks without the frills because the liquid is just that amazing, but my favourite JW cocktail is the Southside which will be on serve at Rocking The Daisies. The spicy well-balanced serve may just be my favourite because of my Joburg Southside roots but it really is a fantastic Walker serve.

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