• 11.02.15

Jude Law Returns In Another Epic Gentleman’s Wager For Johnnie Walker

Anomaly partner and COO Mike Byrne talks about why the brand came back with “The Gentleman’s Wager II.”

Jude Law Returns In Another Epic Gentleman’s Wager For Johnnie Walker

Last year, actors Jude Law and Giancarlo Giannini made a bet on a boat. The resulting brand film was stylish, fun, engaging, and a hit.


The two now return with a wager on a priceless vintage car, challenging Law to race from Southern Italy to Monte Carlo in little more than 20 hours. Created, once again, by agency Anomaly, and directed by Jake Scott, the sequel follows Law along the way as he races across Italy, stops to help a stranded Zhao Wei, gets animated, and is forced to rely on the kindness of strangers.

While the more than 45 million views on the first film certainly helped, Anomaly partner and CCO Mike Byrne says the idea for a sequel ultimately came from the close collaboration between the agency and Johnnie Walker brand parent Diageo.

“​​It really was the collaborative nature of our​ relationship ​after all that inspired the sequel,” says Byrne. “​That and our​ joint desire to ​create an even bigger, better chapter of the story​. Long format ​can be very​ difficult ​to get right, and impossible if you don’t have working trust and respect for your partner. Compound that with ​the goal of​ making ​a ​film resonant globally ​with multiple audiences and taste points–work​ing​ together as one ​becomes crucial​.”

The creative challenge was to come up with the right story. “We needed a simple narrative backbone that we could build sub stories around,” says Byrne. “A car race does just that. And it just so happens that Johnnie Walker is rooted deeply in car racing. In fact, the car we use in the film is none other than Rob Walker‘s car. A car race is inherently exciting and once you make that race into a wager where Jude Law has to get from point A to point B in an insanely ridiculous time, you have inherent tension that you can have a lot of fun with. Time now becomes its own character. Then you fill in the gaps with moments that add even more tension and doubt.”

By the looks of things, we could be in for an entire short film series based around this ongoing wager. Whether it happens or not, Byrne says using a bet as the foundation for the story does offer a certain amount of creative freedom, while tapping the potential of long-form branded content.

“We liked the idea of doing another wager because it immediately forces you to create tension and obstacles and nuance,” says Byrne. “This narrative gave us more opportunity to explore our characters further while keeping an energy and pace to the film. We’re in a world now where quick sound bites and five second videos seem ​to be all we have an appetite for anymore​. But we’​v​e also noticed a​ recent return to longer narratives from brands because of a longing ​for meaningful consumer connection.”

About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.