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Diageo Korea offers dream-come-true Keep Walking event

Diageo Korea is staging a “dream contest” which enables people to follow unfulfilled lifelong goals that are unique enough to inspire others.

Mark Edwards, marketing director for Diageo Korea, said the firm launched a global campaign here in November, accepting more than 1,400 applications for an event somewhat similar to other well-known local TV programs like Super Star K.

“(What’s) similar is the fact that people have to win something, but the value is different,” he recently told The Korea Herald. “This is not just about becoming famous and it’s not even about making your wish come true. It’s about somebody’s lifelong ambition they have been trying to achieve for many years, which has a good will and could be inspiring.”
Mark Edwards
Mark Edwards

Johnnie Walker’s global Keep Walking fund is a dream contest that supports dreams of adults across the world. It launched in Korea last year after success in Taiwan, Thailand, the U.S. and Australia.

Those above 20 were asked to write in their dreams along with a future action plan on the campaign website (www.keepwalking.co.kr). Five winners will be selected by March 25 and they will be given a sum of 500 million won ($447,593) as a support fund.

For this year, more than 1,450 people initially took part in the event, which is a sharp increase from 300 people last year. A list of the top 20 was selected earlier on Jan. 14 and that list is to be narrowed down to a top 10 by Feb. 23 through online votes.

“The number of applicants has increased by more than 300 percent (compared to last year) and that tells me (the event is) enabling them to make a difference in their lives,” said Edwards. “When we go into top 20, you start meeting those people personally and hear directly from them about their dreams and that makes it even more impactful.”

The unfulfilled dreams of the top 20 vary from being a national team cricket player, musician, junk artist and chef to programmer, fighter and pottery-maker.

“There are a lot of dreams ― different from last year,” he said. “There’s no limit to human creativity. I think we can run this program for the next 10 years and have more dreams.”

When the 10 finalists are picked later this month, a group of five panelists and the contestants will get together on March 25 for the dream exhibition.

The five panelists are: pro-golfer Kang Wook-soon, public relations expert Seo Kyung-duck, economist Gong Byung-ho, movie director Park Gwang-hyun and Seo Jin-gyu, motivational speaker and head of the Hope Institute.

“(Panelists) really understand what the keep walking spirit means. Every panelist has that story rooted in their lives,” Edwards said, adding that this allows them to put themselves in the shoes of the applicants.

Candidates will be judged on a number of criteria ― perseverance, feasibility, pioneering spirit and having a positive impact on others, he said.

When asked how such an event is expected to enhance the brand image of Diageo in Korea, he claimed it is more meaningful than just brand communication.

“It’s less about advertising but more connecting with people,” said Edwards.

Diageo Korea, widely known for its flagship brands like Johnnie Walker and Windsor, takes up the largest share in the local spirits market.

By Cho Ji-hyun (sharon@heraldcorp.com)
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