Bold Experience: Johnnie Walker global brand


The Johnnie Walker global brand team knew there was an untapped opportunity to achieve scale in gifting aligning behind the Johnnie Walker brand idea “big, bold flavors” with a point of view on gifting and how celebration could be communicated. Together with a range of progressive artists and its agency Design Bridge, the Scotch Whisky brand was able to deliver strong growth in incremental volume from 21% to 58% while reducing costs and presenting a more unified brand identity across the globe.

Prior to the Experience Bold artists collaboration project, each market still commissioned and produced its own briefs. There were multiple budgets and vast amounts of diverse communications all with different articulations of the brand. This resulted in multiple designs in 45 markets; the gift package redesign resulted in one brand expression—one global package design—in 95 markets. There also was massive rise in demand from markets. For every one pack sold in 2012, nine were sold in 2013.

The challenge was to create a single, strong global design that can be embraced by culturally diverse markets for key gifting periods, such as Christmas, Chinese New Year, etc., while capturing the feeling of celebration, while increasing on-shelf and in-store visibility to surprise customers, creating interest and demand at the point of purchase. Diageo also wanted to convey a status to gift giver and receiver, ensuring the packs are instantly recognizable as from Johnnie Walker, by accentuating the core brand assets—the striding man, slanted label, royal warrant and color.

By carefully selecting artists that are in line with the theme and that share the same progressive attitude as Johnnie Walker, Design Bridge and Diageo, which owns the Johnnie Walker brand, collaborated to deliver a powerful holistic initiative that brings to life the striding man, his philosophy of “keep walking,” and the sensorial experience of Johnnie Walker liquids through pieces of art that translated to packages, in-store visibility, PR and online engagement.

“Impactful, beautiful designs and partnering with very talented artists has dramatically raised the appeal,” Johnnie Walker global brand director Guy Escolme remarks. “This in turn has won a substantial increase in sales and distribution.”

Nicolas Paul, global brand manager for Johnnie Walker, adds, “With this stunning design, we also reduced and simplified the number of trademarked gift pack varieties of both Johnnie Walker Red Label, Black Label and Double Black. We had aimed to simplify from multiple pack designs to one global design that focuses on flavor and liquid status credentials. This resulted in higher quality materials and more premium cues for a similar production cost.”