Johnnie Walker has just launched a new initiative—in partnership with Simone Ashley and Diet Paratha, aimed at making positive changes in the UK’s South Asian community.
Though there are many facets to the ‘Bold Steps’ campaign, it will lead with a competition to promote Diet Paratha’s ‘Family Tree’ mentoring programme, alongside a short film with creative direction from Simone Ashley, Anita Chhiba (founder of Diet Paratha) and filmmaker Kajal.
“I am proud to join Anita, Kajal and the Johnnie Walker team to lift up the community that I am part of—and to keep the door open for the people that follow,” says Ashley. “I was drawn to the ‘Bold Steps’ initiative as I know the power of seeing others who look like me at the table and in the room.”
To start, applicants are invited to submit a design for a limited-edition Johnnie Walker Black bottle inspired by their own creative expression.
The winning design will then be brought to life, with the winning applicant receiving £5,000 to put towards their creative practice in 2023 , as well as exclusive 1-on-1 mentoring with Art Director Manu Pillai.
“The power of campaigns like Bold Steps go far beyond visual optics,” says Chhiba. “Not only was the campaign led by a team of South Asian talent but the project goes on to create opportunities for the wider Diet Paratha community of future creatives.
“Johnnie Walker’s refreshing support offers true allyship—Bold Steps inspires, pays respect and provides value to help advance our people. This is a benchmark of brand involvement and the type of involvement that should be a prerequisite for any brand when working with marginalised talent, communities or organisations, especially in 2023.”
Johnnie Walker will continue to support the Diet Paratha Family Tree Mentoring programme throughout 2023, with mentorships for five further individuals.
The involvement of partners like Bridgerton’s Simone Ashley is important benchmark for the campaign, too, amidst historically low creative representation of the British South Asian community in mainstream culture in the UK.
Whilst being the largest minority group in the UK accounting for just under 7% of the country’s population, the group is underrepresented on screen, making up only 4.8% of on-screen actors, presenters, and television stars, with many of the acting roles on offer either fading into the background or depicting inauthentic and stereotyped characters.
Of course, this trend is reflected across a broad section of creative industries—from fashion to film.
Author: Lela London
Published on Jan 25, 2023