Johnnie Walker’s New Spot Toasts Immigrants and Their Grueling Path Toward Citizenship

Latest ad in the 'Keep Walking America' campaign

Johnnie Walker drops video aimed at shedding light on grueling process immigrants endure on their paths to citizenship. - Credit by Johnnie Walker
Headshot of Lindsay Rittenhouse

Can the average U.S.-born citizen name one of the writers of the Federalist Papers? Can he or she remember which territory America purchased from France in 1803? (The answers are at the end.)

The latest installment of Johnnie Walker’s “Keep Walking America” campaign follows a young immigrant’s path to American citizenship. In the ad, “Citizenship,” created by MDC Partners’ Anomaly, a man celebrates with friends at a bar after passing his citizenship interview.

As part of the interview, a government worker can ask up to 10 questions from the naturalization test of 100 historical and government-related questions. Some viewers may have to suspend their disbelief as none of the man’s friends, who the ad implies are U.S.-born citizens, knows who wrote the Declaration of Independence. But the spot delicately sheds light on the immense amount of time, effort and sacrifice people endure to gain U.S. citizenship.

The citizenship interview is the last major step immigrants face in the grueling road to citizenship after completing the hefty Form N-400 application and passing rigorous background checks.

To support the “Keep Walking America” campaign, Johnnie Walker also partnered with actor Wilmer Valderrama, who surprised hundreds of new American citizens outside two naturalization ceremonies in Los Angeles last week to hear about their journeys.

“Being an immigrant is a blessing and your biggest asset,” Valderrama said in a statement. “Immigrants are the core of this country, and I’m honored to help share their stories with the world.”

(The answers from above are James Madison, John Jay, Alexander Hamilton—or their shared pseudonym “Publius”—and the Louisiana Territory, respectively.)


Agency: Anomaly
Client: Johnnie Walker
Campaign: “Citizenship”

Production Company: Epoch Films
Director: Emily Kai Bock
Executive Producer: Megan Murphree
Line Producer: Pat Harris

Editorial: Arcade
Editor: Brad Waskewich
Assistant Producer: Chris Angel
Executive Producer: Sila Soyer
Producer: Andrew Cravotta

Finishing: The Mill
Colorist: Fergus McCall
Executive Producer: Heath Raymond
Producer: Luis Martin

Mix: Heard City
Sound Mixer/Sound Designer: Cory Melious
Sound Mixer/Sound Designer: Phil Loeb

@kitten_mouse Lindsay Rittenhouse is a staff writer at Adweek, where she specializes in covering the world of agencies and their clients.