Brand Identity

I thought it would be great to get a discussion going around Brand Identity and what it is that makes a brand recognizable immediately with out having to investigate it.

I have attached a 100 year adversary Johnny Walker Black label bottle. In this they have removed majority of the graphics but have kept the shape of the bottle and the shape of the label. I think this is very well done as everything that is recognizable about the bottle is still there but all of the clutter has been remove They took on the color scheme of their print adds. This has created a very recognizable bottle for whiskey drinkers.

Feel Free to post your favorites.

That’s interesting. All I can find is this version, which I actually like better. I love the yellow on black theme throughout their advertising. And just having that logo on a black bottle is wonderful. However, it probably wouldn’t work as well with Red, Gold, or Blue label.

I found it on theDieline.com. There were only 100 produced and that is actually a leather label and sold in the UK for 100 pounds. I agree, I like the one you posted as well. It is very simple and clean.

I like the difference between the basic, lower priced “Red” bottle, with it’s rounded corners and “shoulders”, and the more expensive “Black” bottle with it’s “harder” details. The sides of both bottles are very nearly parallel. at a glance both still read JW.

Note: these images are not to the same scale.

Red

Black

The up-scale Green and Blue bottles both taper noticeably from top to bottom.

Green

Blue

The “Gold” label product is interesting in that it shares the Green/Blue tapered shape but with smaller radius at the corners, and the length of the neck is somewhat longer in proportion.

Gold

The JW “Other Blends” line is a total departure from the unified form of the “Label” line, being packaged in unique forms; the 4,000 bottle limited edition Blue Label Anniversary blend in a Baccarat crystal decanter with leather case. But at roughly $3,500 PER BOTTLE I don’t think there will be ANY brand recognition problems because we’re not likely to ever see in on a shelf.

Blue Label Anniversary




King George V Edition at only $790 per bottle, also sports a unique bottle shape, as well it should.


But the most interesting release from JW would have to be their celebration of the 200th anniversary of John Walker labeled simply, 1805. The bottle uses the classic JW soft-edged profile with hand etched message and gold bust of John Walker. But we will likely never even see one, valued at $27,000 (twenty-seven thousand) per bottle, none were sold, all being presented to individuals. Although the Halekulani La Mer has acquired a bottle and is serving a jigger (1-1/2 oz.) for $325.

I wonder what they’d say if you asked for it on the rocks… ?

Lew,

this is an awesome study on brand and packaging here.
up until now I always thought “the bottles are pretty much the same” and I knew the proper order. but thats all.
wow. what incredible differences. the black label being the black sheep of the normal bunch I’d say (the super expensive bottles aside), with its lightly sharp corners. maybe helps customers in the lower/normal price bracket make a decision between red and black, feeling the details of the black bottle when holding both. I’m sure it helps loosen the wallet, the black just feels better. where as the customer who goes in to buy green or blue generally should know what they’re doing, know the taste difference, or doesn’t care and already knows what they’re getting when they leave the house.

$325 per shot? ouch.

still, I did the math, looks like they’re losing over $10,000 on that bottle.

Taylor: They are watering those jiggers down to get about 4 times as much out of the bottle. Don’t worry;)

I’ve always thought that Harley Davidson has one of the most iconic brand images of all time. Back in school we were on the topic when one of our professors asked: “What does Harley Davidson sell?”

Of course we all said “Motorcycles”. “Wrong” he replied. “What Harley Davidson really sells is a lifestyle image”. He went on to say that for a long time, HD bikes were some of the worst quality bikes on the market, yet they held on to their prestige…simply because of the brand image.

When I think about it, it’s absolutely true. When I see orange, black, white and metal - I think Harely. Doesn’t matter what context it’s actually in. As further proof, consider that Nike, Coca Cola, IBM, etc. As powerful as those brands are, they aren’t powerful enough to have started an actual lifestyle (the “Outlaw Biker”).

I’ve always thought that Harley Davidson has one of the most iconic brand images of all time. Back in school we were on the topic when one of our professors asked: “What does Harley Davidson sell?”

Of course we all said “Motorcycles”. “Wrong” he replied. “What Harley Davidson really sells is a lifestyle image”. He went on to say that for a long time, HD bikes were some of the worst quality bikes on the market, yet they held on to their prestige…simply because of the brand image.

When I think about it, it’s absolutely true. When I see orange, black, white and metal - I think Harely. Doesn’t matter what context it’s actually in. As further proof, consider that Nike, Coca Cola, IBM, etc. As powerful as those brands are, they aren’t powerful enough to have started an actual lifestyle (the “Outlaw Biker”).

I agree. This is the kind of Experiental Branding that I have posted about in the past. I would although have to disagree about Coke. Keep them coming. When I get home I will post more.

As powerful as those brands are, they aren’t powerful enough to have > started an actual lifestyle > (the “Outlaw Biker”).

Originally “outlaw” referred to races held outside the sanction of the A.M.A (American Motorcycle Association) competition by-laws.

The “outlaw biker” connotation aside, Harley-Davidson did not “start” the outlaw biker lifestyle; they just took advantage of it. So much so that if I were to ask you what motorcycle Marlon Brando rode in the 1953 classic The Wild One you’d probably say Harley-Davidson. As a legitimate business it’s probably safe to say that H-D didn’t want any direct connection to the “outlaw” image, but it’s been said that bad publicity is better than no publicity.

H-D just happened to be around when a bunch of ex-WWII fighter jockies who had experienced the thrills of shooting down Messerschmidt’s, and terrorizing the English countryside on H-D WA45s and British motorcycles, needed a rush to keep their adrenalin levels spiked when they got home from the war. The closest thing to it was the motorcycle; any motorcycle. As an aside, it is interesting to note that the sales of leather jackets skyrocketed during this same period.

The Wild One was based on the sensationalization of the actual motorcycle related “riot” in Hollister, California, in 1947. For an interesting read on the the real story see: The real Wild Ones  The 1947 Hollister motorcycle riot

From the 1947 Hollister rally.

Triumph Speed Twin
The Wild One, 1953

The “outlaw biker” connotation aside, Harley-Davidson did not “start” the outlaw biker lifestyle; they just took advantage of it. So much so that if I were to ask you what motorcycle Marlon Brando rode in the 1953 classic The Wild One you’d probably say Harley-Davidson. As a legitimate business it’s probably safe to say that H-D didn’t want any direct connection to the “outlaw” image, but it’s been said that bad publicity is better than no publicity.

H-D just happened to be around when a bunch of ex-WWII fighter jockies who had experienced the thrills of shooting down Messerschmidt’s, and terrorizing the English countryside on H-D WA45s and British motorcycles, needed a rush to keep their adrenalin levels spiked when they got home from the war. The closest thing to it was the motorcycle; any motorcycle. As an aside, it is interesting to note that the sales of leather jackets skyrocketed during this same period.

Thanks for the correction. However I would argue that even if HD didn’t start the “outlaw biker” image, it certainly has a stranglehold on it now. I don’t think for one second that HD shys away from the association with the biker gangs. I think there are certain products that they try to steer towards a different demographic (V-Rod for example), but the core of their business will always center around the outlaw mystique.

I offer up one more argument. Hells Angels, Outlaws, Mongols, etc…they specificaly state that one of the requirements for membership is to own a HD (it even has to meet certain specifications in terms of engine size, power, etc).

I don’t presume to be a motorcycle culture historian, I am just trying to make a general observation about the power of HD’s branding.

That’s a great story & a great movie - I don’t care if it isn’t true. It reminds me of that old line from another good film -

When the legend becomes fact, print the legend

I don’t think for one second that HD shys away from the association with the biker gangs.

I may be blurring the line between mystique and and reality, but you don’t for two seconds actually believe that Harley-Davidson (or the average customer) condones, or associates itself with, racist activities, the sale of illegal drugs, stolen firearms and property (motorcycle parts), extortion, white slavery, prostitution, and murder … do you? I think HD owners associate themselves with the “freedom” that these groups may elicit, not organized crime gangs.

But, I did find this picture. The gentleman in the beret, and black T-shirt (second row, center, with skull and crossbones) is William “Willie” G. Davidson, Senior VP and head of HD Styling. He is surrounded by members of the Boozefighters, one of the oldest motorcycle clubs in the US; . “A drinking club, with a motorcycle problem.”, they maintain that they are not 1%ers. Nor do they look like it (note women and children present). Somehow I just don’t see any self-respecting, bad-ass, group of Hell’s Angels or Outlaws, posing for a a group shot at the HD Museum, let alone even being at the museum.