• Going beyond the obvious flips the traditional marketing script and pushes marketers to go that extra mile. 
  • Incorporating this strategy can establish a deeper connection with the target audience. 

The “Looking Beyond the Obvious” marketing strategy circumvents cliches and surface-level tactics to foster deeper connections with the target audience. This strategy capitalizes on understanding their underlying desires, motivations, and challenges and uses this data to craft a compelling marketing campaign that resonates with them on a personal level.

While incorporating this strategy, marketers should focus on ditching the apparent tactics. These include cliche marketing tactics like repetitive jingles, staged product demos, etc, as these tactics are often overused and ignored. They should also avoid unthinkingly following the trends, as not everything trendy would align with your objectives. 

Instead, they must focus on going beyond the obvious, unearthing consumer insights through more profound market research. They should find the hidden desires that might be influencing their purchase decisions. Moreover, they can delve into disruptive creativity through fresh storytelling and unconventional approaches. 

How did Jonnie Walker successfully use the “Look Beyond the Obvious” marketing strategy? 

Jonnie Walker is a world-famous brand of Scotch Whisky produced in Diageo, Scotland. Traditionally, scotch advertisements feature older men in plush and lavish settings and rely on specific aesthetics to convey a sense of sophistication, masculinity, and heritage. Jonnie Walker made a masterstroke with its “Keep Walking” campaign and incorporated the “Look Beyond the Obvious” marketing strategy.

Redefining Luxury & Focusing on Journey

Traditional luxury alcohol brands heavily focus on exclusivity and a high-society approach to resonate with their target audience. Jonnie Walker strategically went beyond this tactic and portrayed a strong image of luxury as a journey of progress, perseverance, and overcoming obstacles. This way, the brand intelligently redefined luxury by looking beyond the obvious. 

A famous quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Life is a Journey, not a Destination,” emphasizes the importance of the journey over the destination. The “Keep Walking” campaign never focused on showcasing the act of enjoying a drink but on the struggles and triumphs encountered along the way. 

This approach allowed the brand to resonate with viewers as they stood by the fact that life is not about reaching a specific destination or goal but rather the experience gained during the pursuit. In simpler terms, the campaign focused on the journey and not the destination of having scotch. 

Gaining Universal Approach Through Individual Stories

Jonnie Walker’s marketing team intentionally doesn’t use celebrities or prominent faces in their campaigns. Like Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign, the scotch brand’s marketing featured diverse individuals facing personal challenges from all walks of life. Eventually, this approach facilitated a connection with the characters, and viewers saw themselves reflected in the stories. 

The “Keep Walking” tagline remains constant in Jonnie Walker’s marketing campaigns. However, the stories and scenarios depicted in the campaigns changed over time to reflect changes in market trends and audience preferences. This approach allows the brand message to remain fresh and relevant to current events and social issues. 

Emotional Connection & Open-Ended Narrative

The “Keep Walking” campaign successfully tapped into the audience’s universal emotions, such as grit, determination, and the burning desire to overcome adversity. It also helped the brand establish a solid and emotional bond with viewers, and eventually, this approach made the brand memorable after seeing the advertisements. 

Interestingly, the commercials rarely showed a clear resolution of the challenges faced by the models. This allowed viewers to project their own experiences, interpretations, and perceptions onto the stories. It facilitated an open-ended narrative with the potential to strengthen the connection between the brand and the target audience. 

Eventually, the campaign managed to trigger a global appeal for the brand. Experts believe that the success was based on minimal dialogue, reliance on powerful visuals, and music that transcends language barriers. Furthermore, it allowed the brand to resonate seamlessly with the target audience. 

Ultimately, Johnnie Walker’s “Look Beyond the Obvious” approach transformed the brand from a simple whiskey brand to a famous symbol of resilience and the human spirit. The campaign garnered international acclaim and increased brand awareness and loyalty while expanding its customer base. This is a prime example of how marketing can be more than just selling a product and connecting with the audience on a deeper emotional level. 

What is a “Look Beyond the Obvious” Marketing Strategy? 

Experts assert that the “Looking Beyond the Obvious” marketing strategy revolves around breaking traditional marketing cliches and surface-level messaging to connect with customers more deeply. It relies on understanding their underlying needs, wants, and pain points and curating a message or campaign that speaks directly to the target audience.

Understanding the Obvious

Before going beyond the obvious, it’s essential to understand the obvious first. Some obvious tactics include cliched marketing and unthinkingly following the trends. Cliched marketing refers to involving marketing tactics that are now overused and predictable. Data suggests that users might not resonate with them, and brands using repetitive jingles, staged product demonstrations, etc., are getting obvious, and the brand needs to go beyond that. 

Another obvious aspect is following trends blindly. Marketers must understand that just because something is trendy, it might not align with the business objectives. Going beyond the obvious encourages brands to focus on their unique identity and value proposition instead of blindly chasing the latest trends. 

Going Beyond the Obvious

Now that we’ve understood what’s apparent, let’s work on going beyond the obvious. This starts by unearthing consumer insights, where marketers emphasize in-depth market research to try to understand the true motivations behind consumer behavior. 

Furthermore, marketers should understand consumers’ unmet needs, what emotional triggers directly or indirectly influence purchase decisions and related information. By understanding and uncovering these hidden desires, marketers can curate campaigns and messages that feel personal and relevant to the consumer. 

Furthermore, this marketing strategy encourages marketers to use fresh storytelling and unconventional approaches. Sometimes, they include humor that challenges users’ expectations, thought-provoking visuals, interactive campaigns, etc., to engage the audiences intuitively. 

Benefits of Looking Beyond the Obvious

Incorporating this marketing strategy comes with multiple benefits. It allows brands to stand out from the crowd, as in a crowded marketplace, a unique and insightful message can grab attention and leave a lasting impression on the target audience. 

When a campaign resonates with consumers on a deeper level, brands can foster trust and emotional connection, which can lead to brand loyalty. Eventually, this marketing strategy has the potential to drive engagement, and audiences appreciate a surprising and thought-provoking campaign as it can spark conversation and encourage consumer interaction with the brand. 

Pros and Cons of “Looking Beyond the Obvious” Marketing Campaign

Like every other marketing strategy, this “Looking Beyond the Obvious” strategy has pros and cons, as discussed below. 


This strategy allows a brand to cut through the noise in a world saturated with marketing messages. If brands promote a unique and unexpected approach, they can grab attention and resonate deeply with consumers. It also facilitates brand differentiation and allows brands to stand out, riding on unique value propositions and creating a solid brand identity.

Brands can gain deeper emotional connections by tapping into and understanding the needs and desires of the target audience. This strategy could foster an emotional connection with customers, increasing brand loyalty. It can also facilitate increased engagement, as thought-provoking campaigns can spark conversation, encourage social sharing, and get people talking about the brand. If the marketing campaign is genuinely innovative, it also has the potential to go viral, significantly boosting brand awareness. 


Sometimes, being too unconventional could backfire, especially when the message confuses or alienates the target audience. Thorough research and audience testing are crucial requirements for the success of this marketing strategy. Developing a creative and innovative campaign could eventually be more expensive than traditional marketing campaigns.

Measuring the effectiveness and success of this campaign is tough, and it is hard to measure the impact of emotional connection and brand loyalty. Attempting to go beyond the obvious could make the brand image offensive, insensitive, etc., and damage the brand’s reputation. 

Incorporating this marketing strategy does not guarantee success, and being unconventional might only sometimes work. It requires careful consideration, planning, execution, and a bit of luck, which are the basic requirements of a successful campaign. 
In conclusion, the “Looking Beyond the Obvious” marketing strategy is powerful in building a unique brand image and provides multi-pronged benefits. It can boost brand awareness, engagement, and recall value. It can also spark conversation, trigger emotions, and build a lasting relationship and connection with the target audience.