Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Absolut Vodka: Branding Case study

Branding/Corporate Identity

Absolut Vodka was established in 1879 in Sweden. Brilliant and creative marketing campaigns enabled the once unknown vodka brand to break into the American market.

Absolut is now the third largest brand of alcoholic spirits in the world, is sold in 126 countries and is one of the most recognizes icons of the 20th century.

During the 1970s, America consumers accounted for 60% of vodka purchased worldwide. Having said that, 99% of consumed vodka in the US was produced inexpensively, the common opinion was that the cheaper the vodka the better.

Absolut were facing financial hardship at this time, which made the company apprehend that the answer to their survival would be in exporting products into the United States.

“It would have to create an image that set it apart from the cheaper American vodkas, and justified its higher price tag... essentially creating a luxury market for a product that was viewed in America primarily as a commodity.”

Absolute’s distinctive packaging:

  • A squat bottle with a short neck
  • Round shoulders
  • A label that was printed directly on the bottle glass

In 1981, the company settled on their first (and quite possibly, their last) ad campaign. They created an ad featuring a bottle of Absolut, photographed with a halo over it. The caption:


“With those two words, Absolut launched one of the most effective ad campaigns of the 20th century. The company had asserted its superiority, but had diffused the pompousness of the claim with a simple touch of humor. The concept was conceived and an entire generation of ads was born. Each featuring a simple, yet stunning image of the Absolut Vodka bottle uniquely posed or draped with accessories, each extolling the virtues of the product in increasingly creative ways, and each infused with just enough humor to disarm their grandiose claims of excellence.”

[ABSOLUT PERFECTION (1980); first print ad]

[© 1985 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Used by V&S Vin & Sprit AB under exclusive license. ABSOLUT is a registrerad trademark by V&S Vin & Sprit AB]



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