- Going down in History
- Absolut Interesting Facts
- Absolut sponsorship
- Absolut Variety
- Absolut and The Famous
Absolut Vodka - Is there anyone out there, drinker or teetotaller, who isn't familiar with this unique Absolut Vodka brand with its iconic bottle and its unconventional ad campaigns? Well, yes, there probably is. The following article aims to get the uninitiated up to speed and flesh out some of the facts for those of you who have already dipped your toes into the Absolut Vodka water. We'll be covering the history and development of Absolut Vodka, the company and the brand, taking a look at their imaginative PR activity - including celebrity endorsements and patronage of the fine arts - and throwing in a few interesting Absolut Vodka facts on the way.
It all started in Sweden way back in 1879 when small town distiller, Lars Olsson Smith, invented a revolutionary Vodka purification process known as 'rectification'. He used it to produce a vodka which he gave the snappy title of "Tenfold Purified Vodka". Smith sold the vodka from his little distillery in Ahus outside Stockholm's city limits and incurred the wrath of the city's liquor monopoly holders by undercutting their vodka prices. Smith rapidly improved the quality of his vodka and changed its name to, "Absolutely Pure Vodka", the name that the Swedish government continued to use after monopolizing the alcohol industry in 1917. The name went through a series of variations over the years before finally receiving its now familiar, Absolut Vodka, moniker in 1979 when - one hundred years after its invention - Absolut Vodka was finally launched on to the world's markets.
With its no-nonsense name and minimalist bottle design, Absolut Vodka Blue Label struck a chord with vodka drinkers in 1980's America's trendy clubs and discos bars (straight and with mixers). Absolut Vodka went from cult status to becoming the US's most popular imported vodka.
One wonders whether Lars Olsson Smith ever dreamed that the cut price moonshine vodka he was selling to the citizens of Stockholm and its surrounding villages would one day become the 4th most popular luxury alcoholic beverage in the world, available in more than 130 countries. If he was anything like the rest of us, he probably did.
Surprising as it may seem in this global age, Absolute Vodka is still made only in the village of Ahus, Skane, in Sweden. This is because Absolut Vodka wouldn't be Absolut Vodka if it wasn't for the local well water the winter wheat and the wily ways of Lars Olsson Smith's revolutionary distillation process.
Can you guess the name of the special liquid used to sterilize Absolut Vodka bottles before they're filled? I bet you can! That's right, it's Absolut Vodka!
The USA was quick to embrace Absolute Vodka, but other European exports have found it trickier to gain acceptance. Take the metric system. Despite their love of democracy and republicanism, when it comes to weights and measures, Americans are imperialists at heart. Who, apart from the Yanks (and maybe the Brits), can fathom such units as pints, quarts, gills, jiggers, bushels, sheaves, pecks, cubits, furlongs, inches, feet, hands, knees and bumps-a-daisies? The list goes on for kilometres. So mentioning in passing that every Absolute Vodka label must be applied to every Absolut Vodka bottle with an accuracy of one millimetre wouldn't impress them one little bit. What would carry a lot more weight would be to tell them that any Absolut Vodka bottle that incorrectly sealed is instantly culled.
There are hoards of loyal Absolut Vodka devotees around the globe. The cost of Absolut Vodka is no deterrent to their obsessive activities. Not only are they crazy about drinking Absolut Vodka but they'll go to extraordinary lengths (imperial and metric) to get their hands on anything that's connected with Absolute Vodka: Absolut Vodka posters, Absolut Vodka commercials, Absolut Vodka recipes, Absolut Vodka bottles and absolut vodka ads. Fans visiting foreign cities seek out specialist Absolut Vodka bars, like "Absolut Iceberg" with its drinkeries in Stockholm, London, JukkasjГ¤rvi, Oslo and Tokyo.
Recognised as a brand at the cutting edge of creative advertising, Absolut Vodka is looking to raise the stakes by commissioning a new wave of Vodka advertisements featuring a host of big Hollywood names. The company is even rumoured to have paid a fortune to get its own Absolut Vodka star set in Tinseltown's prestigious Walk of Fame. Apart from the artistic approach they're also looking to trumpet the scientific, technical wonders of their production process.
Absolut Vodka was one of the first major consumer brands to come out and embrace the gay community with open arms? Seeing it as a desirable niche in the Absolut Vodka market, they bent over backwards to admit its members and have been inserting ads in such prominent organs of the gay media as Gay News since 1981. Absolut Vodka continues to sponsor a multitude of gay events such as Tom of Finland's 2000 Fall Collection.
One of the Absolut Vodka adverts resulting from their collaboration featured a stack of old-fashioned film canisters and random loops of stray footage which at closer inspection delineated the familiar outlines of the ubiquitous Absolut bottle. Visible on the cans were the names of several classics movies from gay cinema history such as "Stonewall", "Boys Life", "Nitrate Kisses", "Show Me Love". For a number of years Absolut Vodka has been the official sponsor of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Media Awards as well as the popular reality TV show, RuPaul's Drag Race. They're also the official backers of the New Hampshire Film Festival and Irish filmmakers project, Absolut GAZE.
Like many of Absolut Vodka's activities their sponsorship of the arts diverges from the norm with its greater emphasis on bringing new talent into the global arena.
Absolut Vodka has become a kind of global art gallery. Absolut Vodka's artists are given carte blanche as far as creativity is concerned, the only stipulation being that the Absolut Vodka bottle appears somewhere in their creations; no matter how cunningly disguised. There's also the tacit hope that the artist's skill and wit will tickle the fancy of Absolut Vodka consumers, as it did not so long ago in the incredibly well-received "Absolut Glasnost" exhibition. This was a collection of the works of 26 Soviet artists, many of whom were exhibiting outside Russia for the first time.
In the US media too, the magazine "Art and Antiques" ran a 40-page block entitled "Absolut Artists of the Nineties" which featured 36 emerging US artists.
Absolut Vodka regularly appears on the catwalk, collaborating with fashion world figures like super model Rachel Williams and designers Donna Karan and David Cameron.
In the world of sport, Absolut is continuing its successful partnership with the Boston Red Sox Baseball team. Absolut is looking forward to being "The Official Vodka of Fenway Park" in 2012 when the Red Sox celebrate the Park's 100th anniversary.
Last but not least on the list of Absolut Vodka's sponsorship schemes is the "Brooklyn Blogfest", an annual gathering of bloggers, social networkers and journalists, not the most usual choice of event for sponsorship, but there again, as they've consistently demonstrated, Absolut Are Not your usual Sponsors!
Apart from the original Absolut Vodka Blue Label, Absolut Vodka comes in many different varieties and flavours - not to mention several special and often limited editions. Absolut Vodka Red Label (50%), Absolut Citron, Absolut Peppar, and the newer members of the alcoholic family - Absolut Kurant, Absolut Vodka Mandarin, Absolut Raspberri Vodka, Absolut Vodka 80 proof, Absolut Watkins - the new Absolut Vodka Limited Edition, new Absolut Wild Tea flavour ("Another Absolut Wild Tea, vicar?"), and the Chinese Absolut Vodka Remitted Edition Bottle, then there's Absolut Vanilla, the only flavoured Absolut Vodka that doesn't contain sugar.
With so many different varieties to choose from, you might be wondering whether there's a cheap Absolut Vodka. Well, there isn't. Producing down-market Absolut Vodka would take the Absolut out of Absolute Vodka. It would involve unconscionable compromises on quality and purity not to mention irreparable harm to the carefully crafted brand image. For lovers of this fine Swedish vodka, high Swedish prices come with the territory. How much do you have to pay to enjoy Absolut Vodka? The price of Absolut Vodka varies from $20 to $50 and higher for limited editions.
It's a well documented fact that up there with religion and naked women, alcohol has been a constant source of inspiration for many of the world's great (and not so great) artists and creative people in general. This certainly hasn't escaped the notice of the Absolut Vodka marketing department. Over the years, the Absolut Vodka brand has built up a close, creative, almost symbiotic relationship with the arts and artists. As patrons, Absolut Vodka gives their artists the two apparently paradoxical things that they need: Absolut freedom with Absolut limitation.
They can paint, draw, print, sculpt, construct, de-construct, install, photograph, film, find, juxtapose Absolutly Anything they like as long as it features the Absolut Iconic form of the Absolut Bottle somewhere in the work. Many contemporary artists have willingly accepted the Absolut challenge, not least the iconic iconographer of them all, Andy Warhol with his stark, dark, edgy vision of the distinctive bottle. Other artists who have turned to the Absolut Bottle for inspiration include Keith Haring, Helmut Newton, Damien Hirst, Louise Bourgeois, David Shrigley, Douglas Gordon, Sylvie Fleury, Dan Wolgers, and Hung Tung-Lu.
Well, that's it for now. If you want to find out even more about the Absolut World, why not visit one of the links below?