Johnnie Walker moves Sugar Loaf mountain as he sets out to capture Brazil

When Johnnie Walker goes to town, he REALLY goes to town. This is the amazing spot that Diageo has chosen to spearhead a new assault on Brazil, for years referred to as a "sleeping giant".

The blockbuster spot recognises Brazil as a giant who has finally awakened. In "Rock Giant," the colossus emerges from Rio de Janeiro's Sugar Loaf mountain landmark.

Alexandre Gama, president of Neogama/BBH, the Sao Paulo office of Johnnie Walker's global agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty, told AdAge magazine, "We lived with the image of having a lot of potential but not really taking advantage of all the wonderful resources we had,

"People used to say Brazil is the country of the future, and always will be. We don't accept that any more."

The spot broke on Friday on Facebook and on Brazilian TV on Sunday. In it, the earth cracks and boulders roll, as Rio residents watch a giant arise from the famous rock formation. The giant carefully sets down the cable car that runs along Sugar Loaf Mountain and stands upright.

As he takes his first steps, the words "The giant is no longer asleep" appear in Portuguese, before the campaign's familiar "Keep Walking" global tagline, tweaked to read "Keep Walking, Brazil."

It all happened after David Gates, global director for Diageo's whisky brands, visited Brazil early last year and met Gama. Gates, previously Diageo Asia's marketing director, said he felt "the kind of momentum happening in Brazil that he had witnessed earlier in China."

Johnnie Walker is experiencing Brazil's momentum first hand, as the brand's fastest-growing market with a 30% annual increase in sales .

On his way to the airport one day to catch the shuttle back to Sao Paulo after a client meeting, Mr. Gama glimpsed Sugar Loaf Mountain, and the idea was born.

He said it was important that the message about the sleeping giant awakening was delivered by a non-Brazilian entity like an international brand, so the tagline "Keep Walking, Brazil" spelled the country's name with a 'z' rather than using the Portuguese spelling, Brasil.

The spot had more than 187,000 views on YouTube by Sunday night. The complex production employed 420 people.

"The challenge was how to make someone covered by birds, trees and rocks look powerful," he said. "That was the biggest problem."

The spot, directed by Gorgeous with post-production and composition of the giant by The Mill, required special software to be written enabling the trees to react to the movements of a giant more than a mile high.

Get The Drum Newsletter

Build your marketing knowledge by choosing from daily news bulletins or a weekly special.