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JKR leads striking reinvention of WKD

To celebrate their 20th anniversary later this year, SHS Drinks has worked with global design agency Jones Knowles Ritchie (JKR) to unveil a complete reinvention of their ready to drink brand WKD. Out in October, the rebrand will feature a new visual identity and packaging design.

Work began on the WKD brand in April 2016, following a competitive process. WKD owner, SHS Drinks, wanted to reinvent the brand in order to cater to the needs and attitudes of their target market of 18-24 year olds. Research revealed a big gap in consumer interests and demands since the brand launched in 1996, so a revitalised brand design and visual identity was required in order to engage this audience.

JKR created a central design concept of an exclamation mark, taking inspiration from the existing rectangular WKD mark and setting it above a flexible dot. The new symbol represents the brand’s sense of fun and excitement, using the dot as a versatile icon that flexes to tell a story whatever the format.
The agency chose to hero the bold colours associated with the WKD brand. These colours are used in the secondary packaging for the bottles, and also framed through the logo itself as part of the lettering on the brand mark for the WKD Blue and WKD Iron Brew bottles.
The designs for WKD Berry and WKD Passion Fruit feature bold, oil-painting inspired brushstrokes to highlight the flavours, resulting in striking, simple visuals that stand out on shelf and highlight the exclamation mark concept.
The bottle caps are also brightly coloured in contrasting shades and feature symbols and designs which further emphasise the element of fun.
Adam Swan, design director at JKR, says: ‘Vibrancy and bright colours have always been part of the WKD story but this reinvented design unlocks that vibrancy and takes it one step further, bringing the passion, fun and excitement of the brand to life. The exclamation mark symbol provides a canvas for multiple brand expressions and is a flexible, versatile icon that can be rolled out across a variety of channels.”
Jo Sykes from SHS Drinks who spearheaded the project, says: “This isn’t a re-launch, it’s a reinvention of the WKD brand. WKD has a strong track record, and its core qualities - the right taste, the right level of alcohol, and an energising lift - all have strong appeal for today’s 18 to 24-year-old audience, but as a brand proposition it needs to be made more relevant to this new generation of consumers. JKR has understood this challenge from the start, and the reinvented design perfectly captures both the spirit of the brand and the need to create a memorable icon that allows WKD to remain relevant and engaging for years to come.”


SHS Drinks has also strengthened its agency roster for this reinvention of WKD with the appointment of integrated shop Life Agency. The agency’s initial remit will be to support the brand’s new ‘For the Now’ positioning within the on-trade as WKD aims to be more relevant to the core 18-24 year old target audience. Part of the agency’s remit will be working closely with the brand’s social media channels to ensure the brand celebrates the new  positioning in its purest form via bar. Life will also work closely with incumbent creative and media agencies Bray Leino & Mediacom respectively.

14 September 2016 - Sam Coyne The Drinks Report, editorial assistant