In 2010, Wild Stone explored an aggressive brand personality built around its provocative iconography of scratch marks. It helped define a brand that’s amongst the top players of the Indian deodorant (and fragrances) industry. Over the same period, the brand expanded to occupy the full gamut of grooming products, centred on its unique fragrances. In this setting, the brand’s ‘dangerous liaisons’ approach seemed too explicit and created a barrier to openly displaying attachment. Wild Stone approached us to redesign their identity and packaging in line with this elevated brand aspiration, which would resonate with the customers’ life journeys and project itself as a fragrance-led grooming brand.
The Wild Stone consumer is the young adult in early career, or his twenties: men, not boys. The intent to re-frame the brand was to present a more urbane version of male attractiveness. Its advertising graduated from being centred on instant gratification as a sole male goal to the ‘Kunal’ campaign to make it part of a better life, along with socialising, civility and good grooming. The task for us was to communicate these new conceptions of the brand.
We realised that the scratch marks, emblematic of the brand’s obsession with the unplanned encounter also needed to be tuned for urbanity. To define a language, we placed it on a new point on the spectrum of formality, convention and danger.
The rebranding represents a huge shift in image. With the scratch mark now taking a backseat, the brand needed a new projection of itself for users to remember. The scratch marks allow recognition of the brand but there may be more to continuity than that, beyond commercial reasons, or being recognised to the trade and on the shelf. The new character brings in social acceptability but can escape the confinement of convention. This allows the insertion of a more nuanced, lingering sexual attraction. But the promise at its deepest core remains. It’s muted and made more inclusive. The scratch marks are retained to reassure the brand faithful. The new packaging identity was a new graphic device, the torn label. This solves several problems together. First, labels signal sophistication, being a format linked with pedigreed products. Yet the tear leaves in the possibility of a spontaneous escape, a tell-tale mark of excitement that lies just beyond the social zone. Third, it sets up a memorable brand-wide identifier. It guarantees a safe zone for the brand, leaving each individual product or variant, free to assume any imagery it needs, without fear of dilution. A canvas for versatility is established. The layer behind the label becomes the universe of each variant and its mood. The background graphic stays abstract, with at the interplay of the untamed and the suave. A luxurious fluid brush stroke or a craggy rock are all possible. The label itself has subtle textures, as an expensive fabric might. The vertical brand lettering unit retains the older typeface for continuity, but allows for greater throw and a modern dynamism, to signify a directional change. The redesigned packaging is a balance of the classic and the spontaneous, even funky, and comes together like the new Wild Stone story. The label unifies it as a grooming brand – the background graphic captures the individual fragrance line/ theme – the degrees of variation within each theme differentiates the product category: together building the breadth of the brand.”