Johnnie Walker is the biggest selling Scotch whisky and the third largest spirits brand in the world; which has presence in more than 200 countries. The brand outsells its nearest rival by over 10 million bottles a year. “Johnnie Walker Red Label” is the third largest spirit brand in Australia and the market leading Scotch whisky brand in the Australian market. With a strong heritage and an interesting history since 1820, the brand raised its own personality and brand elements such as the Striding Man or the square bottles; which lately became well recognised global icons and were registered trademarks and in the market place long before McDonald’s, Nike and Coca-Cola. In the 1990’s the brand faced difficult times not only itself but the whisky industry, as emerging brands and new tastes appeared on the market. However, during 2007, Diageo Plc., the owner of the Johnnie Walker brand, announced record results for Johnnie Walker and the delivery of an exceptionally challenging 5-year business goal for the brand, which was to achieve an annual sales volume of 15 million cases worldwide. Considering this target was set following a long period of stagnation in the whisky category, this is a remarkable achievement, made possible, largely, by Scotch whisky distillers actively repositioning their products to appeal to a new generation of drinkers. The “Keep Walking” campaign helped to give Johnnie Walker the positioning it was looking for; as well as strengthened the core concepts rooted in its history; enabling it to become an international symbol to continue the trip to fulfil consumers’ dreams. The Johnnie Walker family of whiskies shares the values of progress, substance and vitality. These values are visually communicated by the core elements of the packaging, the Johnnie Walker brand name and the Striding Man. This distinctive brand identity is aimed at supporting the brand’s dominant and global leadership positioning.
The Man Who Walked Around the World
(Walker, 2014) The story of Johnnie Walker Brand begins back in 1820 in Kilmarnock, Scotland when a young farm boy opened a groceries shop after his father’s death. He was just 14 years old but John Walker had a great vision and ambition. In those times, most of the groceries shops used to sell whisky. However, he wanted to offer a unique product that can be distinguished from the rest. So he began to mix whiskies to deliver a consistent higher quality taste and lately a new quality drink was born; which rapidly began to be well known. The arrival of the railway in 1843 was the perfect timing for this entrepreneur to start wholesale trading in Scotland and beyond. The business was continued through the family generations. Alexander, John’s son, inherited the company in 1857 and the Walkers became the biggest name in this rapidly growing industry. However, for Alexander gaining the Scottish market was not enough, he had a clear vision: make it global. For achieving this, he took important steps to get into new markets. First, he registered the name “Walker’s Old Highland Whisky”. He created the now iconic square bottles which at that time, meant less breakages and more bottles on shipments; as well as the slanted label at an angle precisely of 24 degrees which allowed to unmistakeably recognize the brand on the shelfs. Then, he convinced the ship’s captains of Glasgow to act as agents for him through a commission deal, turning them as ambassadors of the brand which was sold in more than 120 countries and therefore became one of the first truly global brands. The third generation continued the growth of the empire in 1889 when Alexander II and George Walker took over the business. They introduced new whiskies to the portfolio driven by Alexander II passion for blending; and the well-known names “Johnnie Walker Red Label” and “Johnnie Walker Black Label”. Thanks to George business vision, they also acquired the Cardhu Distillery which guaranteed their supply...
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