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Going to a gig in the metaverse

Diageo and Johnnie Walker are connecting with their tech-savvy customers in the metaverse.


Diageo's ambition is to become one of the most trusted and respected consumer brands in the world. To support this aim, the company created a meaningful, exciting experience for Southeast Asian consumers of its world-famous whisky brand Johnnie Walker, by inviting them to the metaverse.

A team from Deloitte brought together tech and innovation experts, including Bristol-based tech company Condense, to deliver a new, immersive music experience that would engage consumers with the brand.



There’s nothing like seeing an augmented reality (AR) pop star dancing next to your sofa, albeit through your phone screen, to bring the possibilities of new technology to life.

And interacting with world-famous artists who seem to be right in front of us, through a virtual reality (VR) headset, has really got us wondering about the meaningful, connected experiences we could create next.

We’re talking about jumping into the online world of immersive content. As fast-developing tech makes it easier, the popularity of entering virtual and augmented realities is exploding. Experiences are quickly becoming more sophisticated and, according to those in the know, we’re just scratching the surface.


“This technology is so new, most people don’t know what it’s capable of yet,” says Nick Fellingham, CEO of Bristol-based tech company Condense, which specialises in capturing live events and streaming them as photo-realistic 3D video.

“These kinds of events aren’t a replacement for in-person events,” he continues, “but one of the benefits they bring is that people anywhere in the world can access them.

“For audiences, the feeling of connection is one of the things they rate highly about our tech.  As we see more and more people using it in the next couple of years, more people and organisations will start to understand the ability tech like this has to create connections and meaningful experiences.”

It’s food for thought for forward-thinking companies, keen to join the metaverse in a meaningful way, and wondering how.  


Walk Beyond

Walk Beyond, the world’s first simultaneous VR and AR gig, is Diageo and Johnnie Walker’s first foray into immersive content in the metaverse.

It follows a successful NFT whisky drop in 2022 that offered a premium experience for private and high-net-worth clients, which indicated a growing opportunity to connect with some consumers in new ways. Having collaborated on this, Diageo and Deloitte teamed up again on a new challenge.

“Johnnie Walker is all about being culturally bold and collectively progressive,” says Celine Ong, head of culture and partnerships at Diageo, “especially in Southeast Asia and the Philippines, where we piloted the concert.” 

“While paying respect to our brand’s heritage, we like to be ahead of the times and understand what the audience really wants. Our audience is in the know and up to speed with technology so we’re invested in being at the forefront. We want to be in the space they are in.”

The result of this ambition was a concert starring Filipino pop sensation James Reid, streamed live from Bristol to an audience in the Philippines. The Walk Beyond campaign also helped Johnnie Walker achieve a share of voice of over 80 per cent of the whiskey market in the Philippines for the first time in a year and a half.

“It’s incredible to see how well the tech and artists, working together, can build connections with the audience,” says Deloitte manager for unlimited reality, Dan Dowe.

“That’s what makes this so different to other metaverse live experiences. It’s been a long journey to get here. But a really exciting one.”

“Is there any reason why we can’t stage live virtual reality and augmented reality concerts simultaneously in the metaverse?"

Ed Plaskow

Director in Consulting, Deloitte

“We built our tech for this very reason! To enable people to experience live events, no matter where they are in the world. Let’s work together on it.”

Nick Fellingham

CEO, Condense

Creativity and value

“Diageo and Johnnie Walker came to us with the challenge of reframing how they engage with their customers,” says Deloitte director of unlimited reality, Ed Plaskow.

For Ed, balancing creativity and value was at the heart of his role on the project.  “When it comes to innovation, it’s crucial to have a goal in mind that tracks back to value,” he says. 

“We knew from working with Diageo what the goals were around marketing, new customers and brand positioning, and we worked backwards from those.” 

Designed to be repeatable and scalable, Diageo has already learned from Walk Beyond and can build on the experience by re-running the event anywhere in the world.

“We’re piloting exciting projects in the Filipino market. My vision is to widen the ambition to Southeast Asia and even globally,” says Celine.

“This is just the start.”

A tech ecosystem

“There’s so much going on in the space of 3D video and immersive technology,” continues Dan.  “We have clients asking us how they should use tech like this and we’re also identifying opportunities where 3D could help a client engage with its customers better.” 

As this was a first, casting the net wide to find the right collaborators, stitching different tech elements together seamlessly and problem solving were among the team’s challenges. 

Specifically, we brought one piece of Condense’s tech – the ability to live-stream real world events as 3D photorealistic video - together with an online experience we built specifically for this campaign, that allowed people to watch the live stream.  

“Condense is a start up, so its tech was adaptable enough to meet this project’s bespoke needs,” Dan continues. “And because it’s a growing company, we hope the project can support its trajectory, with experience it can take to new markets.” 

“Having relationships with collaborators at the forefront of this tech means we can link them up with the right clients, be the glue that holds it together, and create something really exciting.” 


Ed Plaskow

Director in Consulting, Strategy, Analytics and M&A, Consumer

020 7303 4712

Email Ed

An exclusive competition

It started with a physical campaign in the Philippines, featuring a huge structure of the Johnnie Walker ‘Striding Man’ in Manila that gave customers the opportunity to enter a competition, via a QR code, and win a grand prize.

A unique connection

50 lucky winners received a VR headset and a hot ticket to come together in the metaverse and watch a live, 3D performance by pop star James Reid and DJ Hyo. Audience members could walk around and interact with the stars, offering a one-off experience.

A global superstar in your living room

Opening the concert up to other fans in the Philippines, another QR code provided access to an AR version of the concert via smartphone. This time James Reid appeared in the user’s surroundings and they were able to take pictures of him there to share with friends.

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