New Report Reveals a Seismic Shift From ‘Material World’ to ‘Progressive Planet’

By Johnnie Walker, PRNE
Wednesday, September 28, 2011

LONDON, September 29, 2011 -

Global Research From Johnnie Walker Reveals a new Model for Measuring Success and Achievement

- Over half (52%) of global citizens say success isn’t just based on wealth

- Two in five (42%) do not think material goods signify success

- Death of the ‘me’ culture in the Western World

- Community values still prevalent among the conspicuous consumption of the East

Attitudes towards success and achievement are fundamentally changing around the world, according to a new report released today from Johnnie Walker.  

‘The Progress Index’ - an international study which included a poll of over 11,000 people in 11 countries - was commissioned to investigate how the concept of ‘progress’ is evolving as part of the Johnnie Walker Keep Walking Project, a new initiative to spark thinking for a better future.  

Over half (52%) of the international sample said that success in life isn’t based on wealth and two in five (42%) said they no longer believe that material goods signify success, with the figure exceeding two in three (68%) in Spain - the largest in the report.  

Nearly one in three (31%) of those surveyed said they will regard themselves successful when they can help others and the vast majority (88%) feel they achieve more by working with others.  

Despite a challenging economic climate, only one in five (21%) said they would be willing to succeed at the expense of others, further emphasising the shift from ‘individual’ to ‘collective’ gain.  

A shift from a ‘Me Culture’ to a more community based ‘We Culture’ is perceptible around the world, although to varying degrees.  

The report identifies three stages of how countries think about progress.  In stage one, the acquisition of wealth and defined social positioning are vital.  In stage two, status symbols are important, but relationships and philanthropy begin to be valued more.  In stage three, the idea of exclusive value - that the rarer something is, the more valuable it is - moves instead towards an idea of inclusive value: the more people use something, the more valuable it is.  

Stage 1: Status Symbolists

Countries in stage one include Lebanon, Thailand, China and Vietnam. The perception that success is based on wealth was shared by 72% of those polled in China, 64% in Thailand and 61% in Lebanon.  People in Vietnam (43%), China (38%) and Lebanon (37%) said their main aspiration was to succeed professionally compared to only 16% in the US.  

Stage 2: Ambitious Altruists

Countries in this stage include Greece, US, South Africa, UK, Bulgaria and Brazil.  55% of respondents in Greece and the US stated that material goods don’t signify success. The importance of giving back is emphasised by South Africa, 94% of whom said that this is crucial when evaluating success.

Stage 3: Co-Operative Collaborativists

The only country already beginning to enter stage three is Spain.  For two in three (68%) Spanish respondents, material goods do not signify success, far higher than the global average of 42%.  Roughly the same number (71%) does not think that success in life is not based on wealth.  

Report contributor Rachel Botsman, author of ‘What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption’, observes:  ”The recession has been an accelerator of consumer values and there is a massive resurgence of need for community.  We are expressing ourselves by what we belong to, versus what we individually own.”

‘The Progress Index’ also reveals how a new wave of innovation and entrepreneurialism is looking to crowd sourcing, collaboration and conversation to find solutions to challenges.  

A bottom-up, solve-it-yourself culture is emerging, with 79% of the global survey believing that mankind will come up with the solutions it needs to combat the world’s problems.  

Inspired by this, Johnnie Walker is launching the Keep Walking Project in seven countries in 2011 (Bulgaria, Brazil, Greece, Lebanon, Spain, Thailand and Vietnam) which shortlists three pioneering projects and invites people to decide which is most inspirational.  

The Art Project led by artist Ze Frank will share peoples’ collective vision for their cities; The Tech Project will power light installations using energy generated from Pavegen paving slabs; and The Business Project by Hub Culture will encourage enterprise via pop-up lectures.  Successful projects will launch in Spring 2012.  

Gavin Pike, Global Brand Director for Johnnie Walker, said: “In the age of global interdependence, as we face collective challenges such as climate change, financial crises and population growth, people are recognising the value of collaborative solutions over individual gain.

“The Keep Walking Project hijacks this emerging trend by asking people to show their support for some exciting initiatives that could have a positive impact on our communities.

“Striving for success - whether individual or collective - embodies the Johnnie Walker notion of progress, which enabled three generations of the Walker family to grow a small grocery store founded in 1820 into the world’s number one Blended Scotch Whisky.”

Notes to Editors:

About The Report

‘The Progress Index’ was developed by Future Poll, the research division of The Future Laboratory, and commissioned by Johnnie Walker.  

Eleven surveys, conducted in July 2011, polled the opinion of over 11,000 respondents aged 25 to 45 years old living in Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Greece, Lebanon, South Africa, Spain, Thailand, Vietnam, the UK and US. The sample comprises roughly a 60:40 male:female split and respondents are evenly spread between the age range.

The process for defining the stages of ‘progress’ was underpinned by the theory of experts, such as those interviewed as part of the report, as well as qualitative research.  


JOHNNIE WALKER is the world’s number one Blended Scotch Whisky brand, enjoyed by people in more than 180 countries around the world.  Since the time of founder, John Walker, it has been closely associated with the concept of progress. 

About Diageo

Diageo is the world’s leading premium drinks business. With its global vision, and local marketing focus, Diageo brings to consumers an outstanding collection of beverage alcohol brands across the spirits, wine and beer categories including Smirnoff, Guinness, Johnnie Walker, Baileys, J&B, Cuervo, Captain Morgan and Tanqueray, and Beaulieu Vineyard and Sterling Vineyards wines. Diageo trades in some 180 countries around the world and is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (DGE).

Diageo is committed to responsible drinking through: setting world-class standards in responsible marketing, promotion and innovation; promoting a shared understanding of what responsible drinking means, and working with others to combat alcohol misuse.

The JOHNNIE WALKER and KEEP WALKING words and associated logos are trademarks. 

For more information please contact Matt Crowhurst at Edelman on matt.crowhurst at / +44(0)20-3047-4042.

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