When in Manila and painting the town red, do yourself (and society) a favor and NEVER DRINK AND DRIVE. Such is the slogan of the Johnnie Walker Join the Pact campaign of which is the brand’s global commitment to promote the safe and responsible consumption of its products. Last November 5, 100 lucky individuals were blessed with gold passes which granted them access to Johnnie Walker’s Step Inside the Circuit party held at Prive Luxury Club. The party was not only meant to raise widespread awareness about the issues revolving responsible drinking and drunk driving, but it was also a means to encourage those present to join the campaign and to sign the pact to never drink and drive via www.jointhepact.com
The highlight of the night was the introduction of Johnnie Walker‘s Responsible Drinking Ambassador since 2008, two- time McLaren Mercedes Formula One World Champion, Mika Hakkinen. Growing up, my brother and I were avid fans of Formula One, with me cheering for McLaren and my brother for Ferrari, so when I heard Hakkinen was coming to Manila, I knew I had to pull out all the stops to meet him. During the party itself, it was difficult to take a picture with Hakkinen, but with much perseverance and my skills of wading through crowds and long lines, I was able to not only take pictures with THE Mika Hakkinen, but shake his hand and exchange a couple of words. (Haha, I’m sorry, I realize I sound like a fan girl)
Anyways, I was later told that I’d be able to interview Mika one-on-one before a private cocktail party that was to be held at Red, Shangri-la Makati the next day. I made sure that I went prepared, that I was dressed appropriately, had my questions ready and I swore I’d maintain an air of professionalism during the interview, but once I stepped into the interview room and was sitting 2 arms length away from Mika, I was a nervous wreck. Thankfully he was very accommodating and answered my questions in a friendly manner that immediately put me at ease.
While sipping on his cup of coffee, Mika, myself and another interviewer were able to discuss several things but great emphasis was put on why he joined the campaign in the first place, to which he was reminded of his almost fatal ’95 Formula One car crash in Adelaide. He spoke of how not being in control of his car was not only terrifying but of course, life changing. He did mention though that he was thankful that the accident happened in a controlled environment and that the only person injured was himself. He went on to say that that was why he joined Johnnie Walker’s campaign, he said that being sober and losing control is one thing, but being drunk, getting behind the wheel, and posing a threat to not only yourself but also to other innocent people is, as he said, STUPID.
I will never forget that moment when he looked at me dead in the eye and said, NEVER EVER DRINK AND DRIVE. For Mika, it doesn’t matter if you only had one shot of tequila or one bottle of beer, if there’s a drop of alcohol in your system, don’t even think of getting behind the driver’s wheel. He brought up the importance of having a designated driver, a role that is easily interchangeable per party, that way, no one misses out on the fun.
“In its simplest form, responsible drinking means that people need to be accountable for their own safety and that of those around them. Part of this means not drinking alcohol if you are planning to drive. There are so many options available whether it is appointing a friend to be the designated driver, booking a taxi or using a public transport for your journey home. It may sound simple, but unfortunately there are still people who think it is acceptable to drink and drive and I am determined to do all I can to help change these attitudes.”
The opportunity to sit down and chat with a racing legend is one that I will never forget. I honestly believe that Johnnie Walker made a good decision in appointing Mika Hakkinen as their spokesperson because who better to tell you a thing or two about responsible driving then a two time Formula One champion, right? With that being said, when in Manila, join the pact and sign up here if you agree that everyone should NEVER DRINK AND DRIVE.
Two-Time Formula One Champion Mika Hakkinen and Johnnie Walker say: NEVER DRINK AND DRIVE