First brewed by John “Johnnie” Walker in the 1820s in his own grocer’s shop in the town of Kilmarnock, Scotland, and later bottled and distributed in larger scope by his son and grandson, Johnnie Walker is the number-one selling Scotch whisky brand in the world, available in a variety of blends in 180 countries. In February of this year, Johnnie Walker introduced a new logo designed by London-based Bloom in collaboration with illustrator Garry Redford — which passed unnoticed to yours truly — and this September it launched its biggest brand campaign, created by Anomaly, since introducing the “Keep Walking” tagline in 1999 that is launching in 50 countries at the same time.
Our new expression of this international symbol of progress adds character while preserving recognition. His new look was inspired by the enduring charisma, charm and elegance of the dandy. We worked with illustrator Gary Redford, whose timeless style is the perfect fit for the brand. Crafted detailing brings out this historic icon’s magnetic personality.
The Johnnie Walker man is indeed one of the most iconic drink-related logos and coupled with the tagline it presents a perfect one-two punch of a dynamic mark and a simple, memorable brand message. The blobby rendition of the Striding Man that we all know is great by association and spirit (pun!) more than by execution. If you look at it up close or when rendered small it’s, well, blobby. But, yes, in this case the attitude and quick brush stroke aesthetic of it is more important than fidelity, which the new one has in spades.
Given the ornate and detailed design of Johnnie Walker’s bottles and boxes the new logo fits a lot better. I am certain the comments will mostly reflect a dislike for the more detailed and prescriptive illustration, favoring the more abstract version. I like the new version better and other than some heavy highlighting in the right arm, the rendering is quite good, capturing a lot of personality, even at small sizes. The left hand, tipping his hat, is a great and suave evolution to the holding-his-monocle gesture of yore. The new serif typeface is nice too, adding a touch of sophistication.
The applications are pretty simple: put the logo in gold, black, or white, on top of fancy things.
‘Joy Will Take You Further’ is an evolution of the brand’s famous ‘Keep Walking’ campaign and represents a new perspective on personal progress, which has defined the brand’s philosophy for more than 15 years and helped Johnnie Walker become the most valuable spirits brand in the world . Based on new insights into how success is viewed by consumers today, it brings to life the concept that joy can be a catalyst to the progress they seek, and aims to generate a positive culture shift by promoting and encouraging the idea that finding joy in the journey is part of the recipe for success.
As odd as the combination is, the italic sans serif works remarkably well with the new Striding Man. It works much better in a single color on top of photography than the yellow and white combo of the spare ads. It creates a youthful, energetic, and unexpected aesthetic that complements the offbeat personalities of the celebrities chosen to represent the brand. As a whole, the campaign seems well thought out and, even at such a large scale and manufactured coolness, there is a glimmer of genuineness that keeps Johnnie Walker at the helm of mainstream Scotch whisky brands.
Thanks to Javier Olavarrieta for the tip.