• Transform magazine
  • July 01, 2022


Black Dog whiskey rebrand aims to restore itself as category leader

  • Black Dog Before And After Copy
  • Black Dog Before And After Copy 2

Diageo India, owner of the Scotch Whisky brand, sought the help of London-based design agency Butterfly Cannon to appeal to the next generation of young, affluent Indians.

Black Dog has been served in India for nearly 140 years but was finding it hard to remain relevant in an increasingly crowded market. Butterfly Cannon helped create a new brand identity alongside a complete packaging redesign.

The brand faced a unique challenge - ‘Black Dog’ was named after a fly-fishing lure. The majority of Indians have not only never fly fished, but don’t even know what a fly-fishing lure is. With Black Dog losing market share, Butterfly Cannon aimed to make the Scottish-distilled brand culturally relevant.

It did this by tying in the story of Black Dog’s founder, Sir Walter Millard – a man who spent his spare time fly-fishing – with the pressures of modern life many young Indians face. With the recognition that ‘pause is as important as pace’ for the target audience, the tagline ‘Pause of savour’ was formed.


The golds and blacks on the packaging are now added to by bright blues which insert a sense of modernity. The most noticeable change is the shape of the bottle itself – now sloping with tapered sides – designed to give the appearance of gravitas and masculinity. The bottle retains its softly curved neck, however.

Additionally, an illustrated image of Sir Walter Millard is now included on the crest, which aims to capture his passion for fly-fishing and add to the context of the brand. The marque, designed as a modern reinterpretation of the classical serif font, uses larger, bolder typography designed to balance heritage and contemporary relevance.

Chris Joscelyne, marketing manager at Butterfly Cannon, says, “We couldn’t be prouder of our brand and packaging redesign for Black Dog Scotch Whisky. The redesign delivered a triple win for Diageo India. It’s more contemporary and culturally relevant, more authentically Scotch and more recognisable on shelf. This is all reflected by exceptional growth figures."