Johnny Walker, ‘Johannes Aramede’ as we call it in Amharic has long been famous for its advertisement, and the new Haile Gebreselassie Johnny Walker’s famous ad keep on walking commercial is no exception. Unlike almost every other commercial that has been done by Haile this new ‘Johannes Aramede’s’ keep walking commercial has generated a mixed bag of reactions. This has been reflected from facebook post to pub discussion. And ofcourse this article is inspired by one of my friend’s facebook post that clearly states his position against those who claimed Haile did something bad that could cost him his image of sportsmanship. Some even say it goes beyond controversial because it was made for the wrong reasons, but I say …who is to know for sure?
For those who haven’t seen the commercial, it appears ordinary at first as it is common to put Haile in a frame who made his way out from hardship. And rightly so. The expression on his face is a determination and charms with a little of smile as always. Adding to that dark vibe is that the commercial was shot in black and white. There is a background of rural Ethiopia and roads of Addis Ababa in his red shirt running and then walking with Seep walking! Ad
A voice of Haile enters with the following
I grew up here. Every day was a struggle against hardship. As a boy I had to run 20 km to school and back and that where I learned to find that one big bush…deep inside .One bush is for my mother, my father and my family’s homes. One bush made for the challenges and poverties of the past .One bush for those who said that I could not do it. One bush the drink of Africa .There is one big bush waiting inside you. Just keep going. Seep walking!
Some people see this as a way of conveying the habit of drinking alcohol in a very nice and igniting way for the young that could change the course of their life. They condemn Haile’s very act on this kind of commercials. One big fun of Haile said the greatest distance runner is ruining his name that took him two decades to build.Then there is of course another camp that believes that Haile is using the ad to buy sympathy for himself because recently Haile has been in some form of controversy with big international media like the New York Times up on his swift change of mind on his decision to retire. Some have even gone so far he is using the ad to capitalize on his political personality that Haile aspires to have in near future.
There is still another theory that a lot of people might agree Haile did this commercial as for its mammoth financial benefits. One friend of mine always says that the bottom line of Haile’s activities be it commercial or humanitarian is finance. It is no secret that Haile has made a lot of money from their business relationship with Johnny Walker. While the general public may never know if that is true or just rumor gone wild, it wouldn’t be the first time such a thing has happened, so it is a legitimate possibility.
Whatever the reasons for the ad are, or how people feel about the ad I say Haile started to ruin his sportsmanship a long way before this commercial. He damaged it when he presented his running singlet and himself on the meeting of the ruling party last September.
Personally. I’d like to believe this ad will not bring any bad effect on our younger generation. What do you think ?