Vodka In An Absolut World

5410 words (22 pages) Essay

12th May 2017 Marketing Reference this

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Every bottle of Absolut Vodka is produced in Ahus, in southern Sweden where the wheat that gives Absolut Vodka its smooth grain character grows. Absolut Vodka is produced from winter wheat, a hardy wheat grain that centuries of experience have shown to produce superior vodka.

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Absolut Vodka uses a process called continuous distillation, introduced in Sweden in 1879 by "The Vodka King" Lars Olsson Smith (Pernod Ricard, 2009). The water it uses comes from our own deep well. Producing its vodka in one location using local raw materials gives V&S Absolut Spirits complete control of all stages of production and ensures that every drop meets the company's high quality standard. Unlike other vodkas, the Absolut Vodka flavors are made by blending the vodka with only natural flavors and no sugar is added. In fact, Absolut is as pure as vodka can be. Still, that purity has a certain taste; rich, full-bodied and complex, yet smooth and mellow with a distinct character of grain, followed by a hint of dried fruit (2009). Absolut Vodka currently comprises its products within many flavors, such as vanilia, raspberri, apeach, ruby red, pears, and mango. All Absolut Vodka products can also be enjoyed neat or mixed in drinks.

In addition, the shape of the Absolut Vodka bottle has made it one of the world's most iconic products reinforces the brand's strong design heritage. The bottle shape of the Absolut Vodka bottle has made it one of the world's most iconic products reinforces the brand's strong design heritage. It looked elegant, different, simple and very Swedish, and was decided that there should be no label not to hide the crystal clear liquid. Blue was decided upon as the most visible and elegant color for the Absolut Vodka logo. The flavor comes in a transparent bottle in order to show how pure and clear its vodka is. The brand values of Absolut are defined as Clarity, Simplicity and Perfection. All three are there, visible on the bottle.

Absolut Vodka currently comprises the following products within the same quality framework:

Year

Product

1979

Absolut Vodka

1986

Absolut Pepper

1988

Absolut Citron

1992

Absolut Kurant

1999

Absolut Mandrin

2003

Absolut Vanilla

2004

Absolut Raspberri

2005

Absolut Apeach

2006

Absolut Ruby Red

2007

Absolut Pears, Absolut 100, Absolut Mango

2008

Absolut Los Angeles

2009

Absolut Boston

2010

Absolut Berri Acai, Absolut Brooklyn,

2011

Absolut Wild Tea, Absolut San Francisco

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absolut_Vodka

Creativity is what drives Absolut brand forward. That applies not only to the marketing and design, but also to the product development. When launching a flavour, the Absolut Company wants to make room for new cocktail experiences.

3. Brand Positioning

Absolut Vodka is positioned as premium brand in the minds of the target consumers. The price of the product is high. Absolut is one of the expensive brands among the leading brands in the U.S. as illustrated in Exhibit 4. The company also tried to feature the product as a high end product. For example, Absolut had an identity campaign termed 'Smart, showy, sassy, sophisticated and stylish'. By this kind of brand personality statement, the brand was associated with the fashion conscious, rich, desperate and dynamic lifestyle-namely "the Absolut Lifestyle." Absolut entered Glamour world and tried to relate the brand with fashion world. In the Lifestyle magazines, the glimpse of a trendy tanned fashionable girl posing and wearing Absolut Vodka marked attire became widely visible.

The brand personality of Absolut was communicated successfully with the help of a series of aesthetically designed advertisement campaigns both in print and in electronic media. The word Absolut was punned in conjunction with creative images of the bottle and with strong positive feeling awakening words or phrases. Absolut went for simple, but sophisticated ads - a classy picture of the bottle accompanied by a witty caption (Facts - Abusolut Ads, 2009). Those advertisements have not only broken advertising records year after year but also have captured the eyeball alongside the imagination of the general public. The advertisement campaigns were nice to look at, easy to understand yet had the spark of intelligence and smartness. The modes featuring in the advertisement had a tanned skin most of the times thus the brand tried to relate itself with a sense of sunny, urban and dynamic lifestyle. The brand was more inclined to lay emphasis on girls. Because vodka is an odorless drink and doesn't give any quirky sensation while drinking, this was assumed that girls would love this kind of product features. Absolut Vodka soon became news. The latest ads often started getting journalistic coverage in magazines and on TV. Everybody talked about Absolut campaigns - be it the "Absolut Manhattan" ad portraying an aerial view of New York's Central Park in the shape of an Absolut Vodka bottle or 26 Russian painters creating their own most personal impressions of the bottle.

Over the years Absolut has commissioned not only over 300 painters, but also leading artists in all fields like sculptors, glass designers, musicians and fashion designers. The main strategy of the brand was to avoid relating the product with only one particular lifestyle and the ads were to have a timeless but contemporary theme. Absolut Vodka can be proud of its ads in crossing the line between advertising and art using different medians such as paintings, limited edition bottles, shirts, and sculpture (Brand Spotlight: Absolut Vodka, 2010). Many famous artists worked for the company, including Andy Warhol and Keith Harris. TBWA's branding campaign for Absolut Vodka was listed as one of the top ten campaigns of the last century by Advertising Age and the campaign won many awards including an Effie and Kelly awards which are probably the most prestigious awards in the advertising industry (2010). Those highly accepted and widely popular advertisements campaigns could successfully deliver the main brand positioning ideas of Absolut Vodka, i.e. premium product, high quality and association with art and a good life.

4. Competitors and their Campaigns

In addition to Absolut Vodka, there are over other 30 vodka brands in the U.S. market as shown in Exhibit 2. Those brands are original from nine countries such as Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France, Finland, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia (Latvia and Estonia), and Sweden. Apart from American made brands existing in the market such as Popov, Gordon, etc. there was the emergence of new American made vodka brands in the past several year such as Skyy, a lovely San Francisco spirit, the newly arrived Teton Glacier, unique vodka made in Idaho, etc (Department of Liquor Control, 2009).

In 2007, there were seven leading vodka brand in the U.S. market including Smirnoff, Absolut, Grey Goose, Skyy, Stolichnaya, Ketel One, and Svedka respectively as shown in Exhibit 3. These brands are made in different countries. However, the American made brand like Smirnoff was ranked the number one U.S. market share in 2007, followed by Absolut Vokda. A brief profile of five leading brands that were Absolut's competitors and their campaigns in 2007 will be discussed in next session.

4.1 Smirnoff

Smirnoff is the #1 selling vodka in the U.S and the world. It had a 17.2% share in 2007. It is originally produced in Russia, the recipe found its way to America in the early 1900's. Smirnoff is one of alcohol brands of Diageo (Dee-AH-Gee-O), the world's leading premium drinks business with an outstanding collection of beverage alcohol brands across spirits, wines, and beer categories. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Guinness, Smirnoff, J&B, Baileys, Cuervo, Tanqueray, Captain Morgan, Crown Royal, Beaulieu Vineyard and Sterling Vineyards wines.

In November, 2006, Smirnoff renewed its alliance with James Bond in the film "Casino Royale." The alliance involved a multi-million dollar media campaign, which was activated in the U.S. and around the world. The campaign included a broadcast advertising campaign; on- and off-premise promotions and sweepstakes; a global public relations campaign; and a fully interactive Casino Royale microsite (Zydel, 2006).

Smirnoff had the close partnership with Bond in 1962′s "Dr. No". In a scene when the villain hands Sean Connery a "Martini, shaken not stirred" made with Smirnoff Vodka. This monumental moment in film made some impact on the way martini drinkers made their cocktails, shifting from the traditional gin to a vodka-based drink and popularizing the vodka martini the world over (2006). Exhibit 5 shows a cross-promotional ad for James Bond Casino Royale and Smirnoff Vodka and some scenes in James Bond's movie in 1962s.

In August, 2007, Smirnoff launched its largest ever marketing campaign (£5M) which was named "Sea" to promote the brand. It centers around a 60-second commercial created by JWT, which premiered on 17 August 2007 in showings of The Bourne Ultimatum at selected cinemas across the United Kingdom. There were various tie-ins launched, including the "Smirnoff Purifier", an online game, point of sale "Smirnoff purity kits", and a tour of a custom-built "Smirnoff Purification Installation" used to make drinkable samples of water taken from saline or otherwise undrinkable water at selected sites (Sea: Advertisement, 2010).

4.2 Grey Goose

Grey Goose was imported to the United States by the Sidney Frank Importing Company which is located in New Rochelle New York. In 1997, the brand became national prominence when it was awarded substantially for its quality in the U.S. In 2004, Sidney Frank then sold the right of manufacturing to Bacardi. Grey Goose was the first prominent French vodka but has seen some competition from Nuage, Ciroc and Idol which are now on the market. Each of these vodka brands are premium brands sold in North America (Grey Goose Vodka, 2007). In 2007, it held a 6.3% share of the U.S. Market.

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In 2007, claiming itself to be the "World's Best Tasting Vodka," Grey Goose launched its new "Discerning Taste" advertising campaign which was produced by New York-based @radical.media. The campaign was the brand's first major advertising effort since its acquisition by Bacardi Limited in 2004. It consisted of four different print advertisements and three broadcast spots. Creative elements of the campaign capture particular moments, people, places, and events in the lives of Grey Goose consumers revealing their unyielding lifestyle of discerning taste. The theme of the advertising platform supports the brand's commitment to represent more than just a spirit, but a luxurious lifestyle brand. The print composites reveals the back stories of Grey Goose drinkers by portraying images ranging from playing golf to a spontaneous late night dinner with friends. These snapshot moments suggest that a Grey Goose drinker's inherent eye for detail leads them to seek refined subtleties in more than just their vodka -- but in all aspects of life (Grey Goose Vodka 2007 Advertising Campaign, 2007).

The advertising campaign commenced in conjunction with the U.S. Open Tennis Championships in which Grey Goose was the Proud Promotional Partner of the tournament. The advertisements surrounded broadcast coverage on the USA Network and appeared on target outlets such as the Golf Channel, ESPN, and HD Networks and in print outlets such as BlackBook, Departures, GQ, Golf Digest, Travel + Leisure, Vanity Fair and Wine Spectator (Grey Goose Vodka 2007 Advertising Campaign, 2007).

4.3 SKYY

SKYY is one of the fastest growing spirits globally and the leading domestic super premium vodka in the United States (Baker & Hearn, 2005). The brand was launched in 1992 by Skyy Spirits, LLC who is the US-based wholly owned subsidiary of Gruppo Campari (Milan: CPR.MI) and the definitive marketer and distributor of super-premium and luxury spirits brands in North America. It had 4.6% U.S. share. Skyy vodka's highest quality and ultimate smoothness are perceived by consumers due to the state-of-the-art process of quadruple distillation and triple filtration (2005). According to the good design of its distinctive cobalt blue bottle and award-winning marketing communications, SKYY is synonymous with quality, sophistication, and style (2005).

SKYY Vodka let the world's most accomplished and controversial photographers interpret the brand's sexy image in bold and daring fashion (Press Release: Skyy Spirits Unveils Sexiest Ad Campaign in Skyy ® Vodka History, 2010). In 2007, SKYY looked to acclaimed photographer and independent filmmaker David LaChapelle to shoot the powerful, tantalizing images that captured the essence of cocktail glamour and the jet set lifestyle which would constitute its third campaign. The national campaign was named "Cocktail Moments" and was available for national outdoor, print, and online. Exhibit 6 shows some ads for this campaign. The creative was launched outdoors beginning January 2007 in LA, Chicago, Miami and San Francisco (2010). Magazine insertions start in February of 2007 in men and women's entertainment and lifestyle publications, including ESPN, InStyle, US Weekly and People, as well as on www.SKYY.com. The ads also ran as banner ads on selected websites including ESPN.com, Evite.com, and Gay.com, starting in mid-February. Due to its bold, sexy imagery, SKYY's ads have become collectible pieces of artwork (2010).

4.4 Stolichnaya

Stolichnaya has its origins in the Moscow State Wine Warehouse No. 1 which was opened in 1901 by the authorities to ensure higher quality vodka production (Stolichnaya, 2010). It was the first vodka to be introduced and imported into the USA, in 1972. Stolichnaya was at this time a good choice to the USA-produced vodka brands as it tasted milder due to a more refined distilling process (2010). However, Stolichnaya's popularity has been dependent on the political climate between the U.S. and the former USSR.

In 2005, Stolichnaya was included in the Pernod Ricard portfolio. Pierre Pringuet, Managing Director of Pernod Ricard said "We needed a major vodka to boost and balance our product range. Stolichnaya signalled our first step in the vodka market and we are proud of our achievements in developing this fine brand. But with ABSOLUT, we have now made a giant leap forward! (Pernod Ricard, 2008)". Since 2005, sales of Stolichnaya grew up from 2.1 million to 3.4 million cases and it had a 4.2% share. In 2007, the brand received several awards including "Best New Product" in the U.S. and "Best New Event" in the UK. Additionally, its benchmark Ultra Premium Stolichnaya Elit also got the highest rating by the U.S. Beverage Tasting Institute (2008).

While renovating the brand, Pernod Ricard launched a new advertising campaign for the Stoli family in order to remind consumers to "Choose Authenticity" on April 9, 2007 (Pernod Ricard USA, LLC., 2007). Exhibit 7 presents ads of this campaign. The campaign debuted in leading U.S. magazines as In Style, Rolling Stone, and GQ in May, 2007. The new campaign was in a visual style and based on a Russian artistic movement called "constructivism," that celebrated the strong industrial structures of the early 20th century when there was the creation of Stolichnaya (2007). The campaign depicted positive Russian icons in a proud tone and humorous way. One of the first ad execution's headlines was "The Mother of all Vodkas, from the Motherland of Vodka."

The new campaign was developed according to two findings of research that: first, that the remarkable history of Stoli hadn't been fully told; and second, that authenticity was a critical consideration in the purchasing decisions of sophisticated, young adult consumers at that time (2007).

Patrick Piana, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Pernod Ricard USA said: "Pernod Ricard has consistently demonstrated its ability to drive brands to achieve their potential, and we are confident that this new Stolichnaya campaign will resonate with the brand's core consumers and build on our overall track record of success(2007)." However, after the purchase of Absolut was completed, Pernod Ricard ended its agreement with Stoli. William Grant & Sons USA signed an agreement to distribute Stolichnaya in the U.S. in 2009.

5. Consumer Behavior

The comprehensive analysis of vodka by the Beverage Information Group and research by Simmons Market Research Bureau reveal consumer behavior of vodka as follows:

Vodka is unlike any other spirit category. The proportion between male vodka consumers and female consumers are fairly equal. Furthermore, it is consumed by all adult age groups (Simmons Market Research Bureau, 2007).

Due to universal appeal of vodka coupled with its versatility as a mixer and the cachet high end products, it has continued to attract adult consumers (Beverage Information Group, 2008).

Females favor flavored vodkas while males take the lead among several brands-Absolut Kurant, Stoli Citros, Stoli Ohranj and Stoli Cranberi (Simmons Market Research Bureau, 2007).

According to Simmons (2007), the older the brand the older the consumer. Stolichnaya drinkers tend to be older than Absolut drinkers. Also, Absolut drinkers tend to be slightly older than Grey Goose consumers. Belvedere scores highest in the 21-to-24 age group among unflavored vodkas.

Younger adult consumers tend to be attracted by somewhat sweet flavors-vanilla and raspberry. Whereas older consumers prefer classic cocktails that are savory in nature (Beverage Information Group, 2008).

All vodka consumers are moving toward a healthier lifestyle and a greener planet. (Beverage Information Group, 2008). It was found that several marketers are incorporating natural and green elements in their products. This is a trend that is expected to continue (Beverage Information Group, 2008)..

Limited edition products that benefit local causes such as Absolut New Orleans and Absolut Los Angeles are another trend that is expected to gain a following (Beverage Information Group, 2008)..

Overall, consumers are moving away from sweet cocktails into the savory area. This may not bode well for several flavored vodkas (Beverage Information Group, 2008).

Review of publications about vodka brands uncovers that there are some significant factors that enhance customer decision making process when buying vodka as follows:

Luxury: By definition, vodka is a clear, tasteless, odourless liquid-meaning that a basic level of quality distilling yields vodka on par with any other. Yet through clever ads and higher pricing, Absolut vodka became the premium vodka over Smirnoff in the 1980s. Then, i n the 1990s, Sidney Frank consciously decided to introduce Grey Goose vodka, which costs 50 percent more than Absolut, with reasoning that people would pay more for a brand they saw as more exclusive, just as they did with Absolut over Smirnoff. Since vodka is one of premium alcoholic drinks, it is considered a kind of luxury items (Rothbaum, 2009).

Flavors: Several companies keep introducing more varieties for customers to choose from, this strategy has proven to be quite successful. Also, the U.S. is the world's biggest market for flavored vodka and a new flavour can drive sales. For example, in the summer of 2007, Finlandia introduced grapefruit flavored vodka. The vodka's popularity has been so great that it has increased the brand's overall sales of flavored vodkas by almost 10% (2009). Thus, there are still room for competition in the vodka category. Store shelves are now packed with new flavours and brand extensions from numerous well-established brands (2009).

Price: Setting an inviting price to attract consumers seems to be successful for some brand vodkas like Smirnoff. For example, Smirnoff posted a 4.0% gain in 2008 and making it the top-selling spirit in the U.S., leveraging its rainbow of flavors as well as its inviting price (2009). This pricing strategy must be employed carefully for luxury goods like vodka, since consumers still perceive that "Vodka should not be cheap. It is not a product of first necessity." Even though higher-priced brands are seeing slower growth, consumers are still spending a lot of money to purchase these prestigious brands.

Reference Group: Vodka consumers use reference groups such as co-workers, friends, and family as a guide to select a brand, since vodka is a product that can be shared in social occasions and consumers tend to please all of those groups when they gather. Thus, group situations constitute their purchase decisions.

Packaging: Packaging has always played an important role in developing brand image, and the vodka industry is not exceptional. According to Adam Rosen, the brand manager of Wyborowa Vodka, the vodka industry is much more image conscious than other liquors (Labbrand Consulting Co., Ltd., 2009). In addition to ingredients and taste, packing is another factor influencing vodka drinkers' buying decision- the vodka they choose should make a statement to others. Thus, the bottle design should display sophistication and class. For example, Svedka's new bottle reflects their "cheap chic" positioning, allowing consumers to purchase a premium vodka at a competitive price (2009). This should appeal to hip night life lovers, but not older customers accustomed to having a casual drink at home. It was found that the older audience will appreciate a classic bottle design that looks nice in their alcohol cabinet (2009). As Svedka hasn't redesigned their bottle for over 10 years, the repeat customers likely have a strong connection to the old brand image (2009). In short, packing can influence decisions made through constructive process at the time of purchase.

6. History of Brand Advertising

Absolut Vodka has become famous mainly due to its advertising campaigns. The shape of the bottle of Absolut vodka is very unique and is emphasized in all their advertisements. For about 25 years, the focus on the product has been the main theme in advertisements for Absolut Vodka. They ran campaigns of humor featuring their unique bottle. It is the unique advertising campaigns that have made Absolut a popular brand going up to the heights of Coke and Nike.

In 1981 they started the "Absolut ________" campaign. "Absolut Perfection" which was created in 1981 was the first advertisement and it is still popular today. They had clever concepts like "Absolut L.A. which showed a swimming pool shaped like a bottle or "Absolut Warhol" which showed the painting of a bottle by the artist. One of their popular ads is the "Absolut London'", which shows the door of 10 Downing Street resembling an Absolut bottle. In a 1988 feature of a playboy magazine they showed a bottle like a model and this ad was called "Absolut Centerfold". Then there were issues "Absolut Disco" (2007) related to dance music in 2008 Absolut Masquerade under the theme "Every night is a masquerade" and in 2009 the Absolut Rock Edition as a tribute to rock and roll. They wanted to end this campaign in 1997 with the launch of an offbeat bottle campaign on April fool's day and it was very popular. But it took 9 more years to come up with a different campaign due to its limited advertising budget. The "Absolut ____" campaign enabled the brand to become the best-selling imported vodka in the United States as sales rose from 20,000 cases in 1981 to almost 5 million in 2007.

In January 2006 they started a campaign called "The Absolut Vodka" which had a theme on the pun between the brand name and the word "absolute". This multimedia campaign demonstrates the headship of Absolut Vodka as "The Absolut Vodka" and observes other classics that are "absolutes" in our culture. This campaign is an evolution of the brand's iconic, 25-year-old advertising and one that underscores the brand's marketing ingenuity and continuous creativity. This campaign was broadcasted on television in the United States. The campaign also featured online and print executions. The new execution was built on the brand's existing campaigns. The broadcast depicts a collage of "absolute" moments and icons that bases modern culture. Pictures include "The Absolut Morale Booster" (Marilyn Monroe singing for U.S. troops) and "The Absolut Road Trip" (first manned trip to the moon). The print advertisement features an Absolut Vodka bottle levitating over a color-block table with copy that reads "The Absolut Vodka" - the image connotes an exclamation point. The print ad shows the genuinity of Absolut Vodka and conveys only one message that Absolut is "The Absolut Vodka."

"The Absolut Vodka" campaign targeted a new and increasing group of vodka drinkers in the United States. The broadcast is very interactive and is aimed at capturing 'in-the-know' customers. "The Absolut Vodka" campaign was created by TBWA/Chiat/Day, the advertising agency of record for Absolut VODKA.

7. The "In an Absolut World" Campaign

In 2007, Absolut Vodka began its "In An Absolut World" campaign in which the company posted various, often fanciful scenarios of what the target audience might think would constitute a perfect, or "Absolut", reality. The campaign was handled by TBWA/Chiat/Day, part of the TBWA Worldwide division of the Omnicom Group.

The "In An Absolut World" would elicit varying opinions and points of view of customers. It is designed to be an inspiring, humorous, and thought-provoking integrated campaign about what an Absolut World might look like and to initiate a discussion about both universal and everyday subjects, as well as to challenge consumers to express their own visions of the world. Its advertising campaign invites consumers to visualize a world that appeals to them -- one they feel may be more idealized or one that may be a bit "fantastic."

The campaign includes commercials and video clips as well as online ads, print ads, billboards and event marketing. Drinkers were invited to imbibe "In An Absolut World", a fanciful, even surreal, place where common sense prevails and just deserts are always on the menu. For example, on planet Absolut, men can get pregnant, and lying leaders are exposed by their Pinocchio noses.

In fact, Absolut was confronting the same problems as other market-leading brands in that everybody knows who they are, but what are they known for? Thus, The goal is to encourage a dialogue between customers and the brand. The ads proclaim, "This is Absolut's view of the world; you respond, you react". Absolut ads aimed at minority consumers will also begin to feature the "Absolut World" theme.

7.1 Probable Marketing Objectives

Since from 2003 to 2007 over 240 new brands of vodka came and many companies started focusing on the ultra-premium category, the marketing objectives of the "In an Absolut World" include robusting sales growth and re-establishing and re-cementing the Absolut's position in the vodka category in an extremely competitive environment.

7.2 Probable Communication/ Advertising Objectives

The main communication of the "In an Absolut World" campaign is to provide the customers with an opportunity to interact, get involved and associated with the brand, since its customer survey found that the previous one never provided the opportunities for customers to interact and get involved with the brand. Furthermore, the campaign aimed at depicting that Absolut Vodka has a class of its own or a world of its own implicating that it is different and better than other brands. The idea is that "Absolut Vodka is the quintessential vodka, the true vodka, and the standard by which you judge other things."

7.3 Target Market

The target audience is 23 - 34 year urbanites.

7.4 Positioning Statement

To inform urbanites that Absolut Vodka is the quintessential vodka, the true vodka, the standard by which consumers judge other Vodkas.

7.5 Creative Strategy

The "In an Absolut World" advertising campaign requires that consumers imagine a world that appeals to them, something like a perfect world or a fantastic world, thus bringing about different opinions and points of view. Also it needs to these ads in countries worldwide with varying themes relevant to their region.

7.6 Creative Execution

To achieve the creative strategy, they decided not only to show what an ABSOLUT WORLD looks like, but also to give consumers the chance to experience it in their daily lives. The idea was to publish the perfect newspaper and distribute it for free, with real editorial content that was entirely positive and interesting to read. Another idea was to perfect a taxi ride by supplying a fleet of free-of-charge Porsche taxis. The next idea was to make a unique experience at the nearest ATM cash machine by introducing the Happy Hour.

7.7 Media Strategy

The campaign would be put in print ads, billboards, TV commercials, video clips as well as online ads (at absolut.com), and event marketing. Absolut turned its website into an online community where visitors can share and discuss their visions of an "Absolut World", create and upload images, films, worlds, and sounds, create personal profiles; browse, comment, and develop the visions of others.

8. Evaluation of the "In an Absolut World"

The campaign uses a combination of approaches in the major selling idea between creating a brand image, positioning and inherent drama. Absolut developed its strong, memorable identity through image advertising and positioned itself as the quintessential vodka in the consumer's mind.

The creative approach used in the campaign is appropriate for the target audience who is 25 - 34 year urbanites. The message can delivered to the target audience and executed in a combination of imagery and humor. For example, one of the ads shows an expectant couple and the husband is pregnant. Additionally, even though Absolut came up with many ads with different pictures, those ads were able to convey the message to the target audience effectively by using indirect headlines "In an Absolut World" as creative tactics for printing ads and TV commercials. Also, the message is short, clear, novel, and creative as well as provokes their thoughts.

Most of the ads in the campaign use emotional appeal to attract the target audience while others create excitement and provoke thoughts. The ads and some TV commercials try to communicate with the target audience that people wish to see the world in a different manner according what an "Absolut World" means to them or their perceptions. For example, a TV commercial portrays a higher form of conflict resolution when protestors and police do a pillow war.

Every bottle of Absolut Vodka is produced in Ahus, in southern Sweden where the wheat that gives Absolut Vodka its smooth grain character grows. Absolut Vodka is produced from winter wheat, a hardy wheat grain that centuries of experience have shown to produce superior vodka.

Absolut Vodka uses a process called continuous distillation, introduced in Sweden in 1879 by "The Vodka King" Lars Olsson Smith (Pernod Ricard, 2009). The water it uses comes from our own deep well. Producing its vodka in one location using local raw materials gives V&S Absolut Spirits complete control of all stages of production and ensures that every drop meets the company's high quality standard. Unlike other vodkas, the Absolut Vodka flavors are made by blending the vodka with only natural flavors and no sugar is added. In fact, Absolut is as pure as vodka can be. Still, that purity has a certain taste; rich, full-bodied and complex, yet smooth and mellow with a distinct character of grain, followed by a hint of dried fruit (2009). Absolut Vodka currently comprises its products within many flavors, such as vanilia, raspberri, apeach, ruby red, pears, and mango. All Absolut Vodka products can also be enjoyed neat or mixed in drinks.

In addition, the shape of the Absolut Vodka bottle has made it one of the world's most iconic products reinforces the brand's strong design heritage. The bottle shape of the Absolut Vodka bottle has made it one of the world's most iconic products reinforces the brand's strong design heritage. It looked elegant, different, simple and very Swedish, and was decided that there should be no label not to hide the crystal clear liquid. Blue was decided upon as the most visible and elegant color for the Absolut Vodka logo. The flavor comes in a transparent bottle in order to show how pure and clear its vodka is. The brand values of Absolut are defined as Clarity, Simplicity and Perfection. All three are there, visible on the bottle.

Absolut Vodka currently comprises the following products within the same quality framework:

Year

Product

1979

Absolut Vodka

1986

Absolut Pepper

1988

Absolut Citron

1992

Absolut Kurant

1999

Absolut Mandrin

2003

Absolut Vanilla

2004

Absolut Raspberri

2005

Absolut Apeach

2006

Absolut Ruby Red

2007

Absolut Pears, Absolut 100, Absolut Mango

2008

Absolut Los Angeles

2009

Absolut Boston

2010

Absolut Berri Acai, Absolut Brooklyn,

2011

Absolut Wild Tea, Absolut San Francisco

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absolut_Vodka

Creativity is what drives Absolut brand forward. That applies not only to the marketing and design, but also to the product development. When launching a flavour, the Absolut Company wants to make room for new cocktail experiences.

3. Brand Positioning

Absolut Vodka is positioned as premium brand in the minds of the target consumers. The price of the product is high. Absolut is one of the expensive brands among the leading brands in the U.S. as illustrated in Exhibit 4. The company also tried to feature the product as a high end product. For example, Absolut had an identity campaign termed 'Smart, showy, sassy, sophisticated and stylish'. By this kind of brand personality statement, the brand was associated with the fashion conscious, rich, desperate and dynamic lifestyle-namely "the Absolut Lifestyle." Absolut entered Glamour world and tried to relate the brand with fashion world. In the Lifestyle magazines, the glimpse of a trendy tanned fashionable girl posing and wearing Absolut Vodka marked attire became widely visible.

The brand personality of Absolut was communicated successfully with the help of a series of aesthetically designed advertisement campaigns both in print and in electronic media. The word Absolut was punned in conjunction with creative images of the bottle and with strong positive feeling awakening words or phrases. Absolut went for simple, but sophisticated ads - a classy picture of the bottle accompanied by a witty caption (Facts - Abusolut Ads, 2009). Those advertisements have not only broken advertising records year after year but also have captured the eyeball alongside the imagination of the general public. The advertisement campaigns were nice to look at, easy to understand yet had the spark of intelligence and smartness. The modes featuring in the advertisement had a tanned skin most of the times thus the brand tried to relate itself with a sense of sunny, urban and dynamic lifestyle. The brand was more inclined to lay emphasis on girls. Because vodka is an odorless drink and doesn't give any quirky sensation while drinking, this was assumed that girls would love this kind of product features. Absolut Vodka soon became news. The latest ads often started getting journalistic coverage in magazines and on TV. Everybody talked about Absolut campaigns - be it the "Absolut Manhattan" ad portraying an aerial view of New York's Central Park in the shape of an Absolut Vodka bottle or 26 Russian painters creating their own most personal impressions of the bottle.

Over the years Absolut has commissioned not only over 300 painters, but also leading artists in all fields like sculptors, glass designers, musicians and fashion designers. The main strategy of the brand was to avoid relating the product with only one particular lifestyle and the ads were to have a timeless but contemporary theme. Absolut Vodka can be proud of its ads in crossing the line between advertising and art using different medians such as paintings, limited edition bottles, shirts, and sculpture (Brand Spotlight: Absolut Vodka, 2010). Many famous artists worked for the company, including Andy Warhol and Keith Harris. TBWA's branding campaign for Absolut Vodka was listed as one of the top ten campaigns of the last century by Advertising Age and the campaign won many awards including an Effie and Kelly awards which are probably the most prestigious awards in the advertising industry (2010). Those highly accepted and widely popular advertisements campaigns could successfully deliver the main brand positioning ideas of Absolut Vodka, i.e. premium product, high quality and association with art and a good life.

4. Competitors and their Campaigns

In addition to Absolut Vodka, there are over other 30 vodka brands in the U.S. market as shown in Exhibit 2. Those brands are original from nine countries such as Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France, Finland, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia (Latvia and Estonia), and Sweden. Apart from American made brands existing in the market such as Popov, Gordon, etc. there was the emergence of new American made vodka brands in the past several year such as Skyy, a lovely San Francisco spirit, the newly arrived Teton Glacier, unique vodka made in Idaho, etc (Department of Liquor Control, 2009).

In 2007, there were seven leading vodka brand in the U.S. market including Smirnoff, Absolut, Grey Goose, Skyy, Stolichnaya, Ketel One, and Svedka respectively as shown in Exhibit 3. These brands are made in different countries. However, the American made brand like Smirnoff was ranked the number one U.S. market share in 2007, followed by Absolut Vokda. A brief profile of five leading brands that were Absolut's competitors and their campaigns in 2007 will be discussed in next session.

4.1 Smirnoff

Smirnoff is the #1 selling vodka in the U.S and the world. It had a 17.2% share in 2007. It is originally produced in Russia, the recipe found its way to America in the early 1900's. Smirnoff is one of alcohol brands of Diageo (Dee-AH-Gee-O), the world's leading premium drinks business with an outstanding collection of beverage alcohol brands across spirits, wines, and beer categories. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Guinness, Smirnoff, J&B, Baileys, Cuervo, Tanqueray, Captain Morgan, Crown Royal, Beaulieu Vineyard and Sterling Vineyards wines.

In November, 2006, Smirnoff renewed its alliance with James Bond in the film "Casino Royale." The alliance involved a multi-million dollar media campaign, which was activated in the U.S. and around the world. The campaign included a broadcast advertising campaign; on- and off-premise promotions and sweepstakes; a global public relations campaign; and a fully interactive Casino Royale microsite (Zydel, 2006).

Smirnoff had the close partnership with Bond in 1962′s "Dr. No". In a scene when the villain hands Sean Connery a "Martini, shaken not stirred" made with Smirnoff Vodka. This monumental moment in film made some impact on the way martini drinkers made their cocktails, shifting from the traditional gin to a vodka-based drink and popularizing the vodka martini the world over (2006). Exhibit 5 shows a cross-promotional ad for James Bond Casino Royale and Smirnoff Vodka and some scenes in James Bond's movie in 1962s.

In August, 2007, Smirnoff launched its largest ever marketing campaign (£5M) which was named "Sea" to promote the brand. It centers around a 60-second commercial created by JWT, which premiered on 17 August 2007 in showings of The Bourne Ultimatum at selected cinemas across the United Kingdom. There were various tie-ins launched, including the "Smirnoff Purifier", an online game, point of sale "Smirnoff purity kits", and a tour of a custom-built "Smirnoff Purification Installation" used to make drinkable samples of water taken from saline or otherwise undrinkable water at selected sites (Sea: Advertisement, 2010).

4.2 Grey Goose

Grey Goose was imported to the United States by the Sidney Frank Importing Company which is located in New Rochelle New York. In 1997, the brand became national prominence when it was awarded substantially for its quality in the U.S. In 2004, Sidney Frank then sold the right of manufacturing to Bacardi. Grey Goose was the first prominent French vodka but has seen some competition from Nuage, Ciroc and Idol which are now on the market. Each of these vodka brands are premium brands sold in North America (Grey Goose Vodka, 2007). In 2007, it held a 6.3% share of the U.S. Market.

In 2007, claiming itself to be the "World's Best Tasting Vodka," Grey Goose launched its new "Discerning Taste" advertising campaign which was produced by New York-based @radical.media. The campaign was the brand's first major advertising effort since its acquisition by Bacardi Limited in 2004. It consisted of four different print advertisements and three broadcast spots. Creative elements of the campaign capture particular moments, people, places, and events in the lives of Grey Goose consumers revealing their unyielding lifestyle of discerning taste. The theme of the advertising platform supports the brand's commitment to represent more than just a spirit, but a luxurious lifestyle brand. The print composites reveals the back stories of Grey Goose drinkers by portraying images ranging from playing golf to a spontaneous late night dinner with friends. These snapshot moments suggest that a Grey Goose drinker's inherent eye for detail leads them to seek refined subtleties in more than just their vodka -- but in all aspects of life (Grey Goose Vodka 2007 Advertising Campaign, 2007).

The advertising campaign commenced in conjunction with the U.S. Open Tennis Championships in which Grey Goose was the Proud Promotional Partner of the tournament. The advertisements surrounded broadcast coverage on the USA Network and appeared on target outlets such as the Golf Channel, ESPN, and HD Networks and in print outlets such as BlackBook, Departures, GQ, Golf Digest, Travel + Leisure, Vanity Fair and Wine Spectator (Grey Goose Vodka 2007 Advertising Campaign, 2007).

4.3 SKYY

SKYY is one of the fastest growing spirits globally and the leading domestic super premium vodka in the United States (Baker & Hearn, 2005). The brand was launched in 1992 by Skyy Spirits, LLC who is the US-based wholly owned subsidiary of Gruppo Campari (Milan: CPR.MI) and the definitive marketer and distributor of super-premium and luxury spirits brands in North America. It had 4.6% U.S. share. Skyy vodka's highest quality and ultimate smoothness are perceived by consumers due to the state-of-the-art process of quadruple distillation and triple filtration (2005). According to the good design of its distinctive cobalt blue bottle and award-winning marketing communications, SKYY is synonymous with quality, sophistication, and style (2005).

SKYY Vodka let the world's most accomplished and controversial photographers interpret the brand's sexy image in bold and daring fashion (Press Release: Skyy Spirits Unveils Sexiest Ad Campaign in Skyy ® Vodka History, 2010). In 2007, SKYY looked to acclaimed photographer and independent filmmaker David LaChapelle to shoot the powerful, tantalizing images that captured the essence of cocktail glamour and the jet set lifestyle which would constitute its third campaign. The national campaign was named "Cocktail Moments" and was available for national outdoor, print, and online. Exhibit 6 shows some ads for this campaign. The creative was launched outdoors beginning January 2007 in LA, Chicago, Miami and San Francisco (2010). Magazine insertions start in February of 2007 in men and women's entertainment and lifestyle publications, including ESPN, InStyle, US Weekly and People, as well as on www.SKYY.com. The ads also ran as banner ads on selected websites including ESPN.com, Evite.com, and Gay.com, starting in mid-February. Due to its bold, sexy imagery, SKYY's ads have become collectible pieces of artwork (2010).

4.4 Stolichnaya

Stolichnaya has its origins in the Moscow State Wine Warehouse No. 1 which was opened in 1901 by the authorities to ensure higher quality vodka production (Stolichnaya, 2010). It was the first vodka to be introduced and imported into the USA, in 1972. Stolichnaya was at this time a good choice to the USA-produced vodka brands as it tasted milder due to a more refined distilling process (2010). However, Stolichnaya's popularity has been dependent on the political climate between the U.S. and the former USSR.

In 2005, Stolichnaya was included in the Pernod Ricard portfolio. Pierre Pringuet, Managing Director of Pernod Ricard said "We needed a major vodka to boost and balance our product range. Stolichnaya signalled our first step in the vodka market and we are proud of our achievements in developing this fine brand. But with ABSOLUT, we have now made a giant leap forward! (Pernod Ricard, 2008)". Since 2005, sales of Stolichnaya grew up from 2.1 million to 3.4 million cases and it had a 4.2% share. In 2007, the brand received several awards including "Best New Product" in the U.S. and "Best New Event" in the UK. Additionally, its benchmark Ultra Premium Stolichnaya Elit also got the highest rating by the U.S. Beverage Tasting Institute (2008).

While renovating the brand, Pernod Ricard launched a new advertising campaign for the Stoli family in order to remind consumers to "Choose Authenticity" on April 9, 2007 (Pernod Ricard USA, LLC., 2007). Exhibit 7 presents ads of this campaign. The campaign debuted in leading U.S. magazines as In Style, Rolling Stone, and GQ in May, 2007. The new campaign was in a visual style and based on a Russian artistic movement called "constructivism," that celebrated the strong industrial structures of the early 20th century when there was the creation of Stolichnaya (2007). The campaign depicted positive Russian icons in a proud tone and humorous way. One of the first ad execution's headlines was "The Mother of all Vodkas, from the Motherland of Vodka."

The new campaign was developed according to two findings of research that: first, that the remarkable history of Stoli hadn't been fully told; and second, that authenticity was a critical consideration in the purchasing decisions of sophisticated, young adult consumers at that time (2007).

Patrick Piana, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Pernod Ricard USA said: "Pernod Ricard has consistently demonstrated its ability to drive brands to achieve their potential, and we are confident that this new Stolichnaya campaign will resonate with the brand's core consumers and build on our overall track record of success(2007)." However, after the purchase of Absolut was completed, Pernod Ricard ended its agreement with Stoli. William Grant & Sons USA signed an agreement to distribute Stolichnaya in the U.S. in 2009.

5. Consumer Behavior

The comprehensive analysis of vodka by the Beverage Information Group and research by Simmons Market Research Bureau reveal consumer behavior of vodka as follows:

Vodka is unlike any other spirit category. The proportion between male vodka consumers and female consumers are fairly equal. Furthermore, it is consumed by all adult age groups (Simmons Market Research Bureau, 2007).

Due to universal appeal of vodka coupled with its versatility as a mixer and the cachet high end products, it has continued to attract adult consumers (Beverage Information Group, 2008).

Females favor flavored vodkas while males take the lead among several brands-Absolut Kurant, Stoli Citros, Stoli Ohranj and Stoli Cranberi (Simmons Market Research Bureau, 2007).

According to Simmons (2007), the older the brand the older the consumer. Stolichnaya drinkers tend to be older than Absolut drinkers. Also, Absolut drinkers tend to be slightly older than Grey Goose consumers. Belvedere scores highest in the 21-to-24 age group among unflavored vodkas.

Younger adult consumers tend to be attracted by somewhat sweet flavors-vanilla and raspberry. Whereas older consumers prefer classic cocktails that are savory in nature (Beverage Information Group, 2008).

All vodka consumers are moving toward a healthier lifestyle and a greener planet. (Beverage Information Group, 2008). It was found that several marketers are incorporating natural and green elements in their products. This is a trend that is expected to continue (Beverage Information Group, 2008)..

Limited edition products that benefit local causes such as Absolut New Orleans and Absolut Los Angeles are another trend that is expected to gain a following (Beverage Information Group, 2008)..

Overall, consumers are moving away from sweet cocktails into the savory area. This may not bode well for several flavored vodkas (Beverage Information Group, 2008).

Review of publications about vodka brands uncovers that there are some significant factors that enhance customer decision making process when buying vodka as follows:

Luxury: By definition, vodka is a clear, tasteless, odourless liquid-meaning that a basic level of quality distilling yields vodka on par with any other. Yet through clever ads and higher pricing, Absolut vodka became the premium vodka over Smirnoff in the 1980s. Then, i n the 1990s, Sidney Frank consciously decided to introduce Grey Goose vodka, which costs 50 percent more than Absolut, with reasoning that people would pay more for a brand they saw as more exclusive, just as they did with Absolut over Smirnoff. Since vodka is one of premium alcoholic drinks, it is considered a kind of luxury items (Rothbaum, 2009).

Flavors: Several companies keep introducing more varieties for customers to choose from, this strategy has proven to be quite successful. Also, the U.S. is the world's biggest market for flavored vodka and a new flavour can drive sales. For example, in the summer of 2007, Finlandia introduced grapefruit flavored vodka. The vodka's popularity has been so great that it has increased the brand's overall sales of flavored vodkas by almost 10% (2009). Thus, there are still room for competition in the vodka category. Store shelves are now packed with new flavours and brand extensions from numerous well-established brands (2009).

Price: Setting an inviting price to attract consumers seems to be successful for some brand vodkas like Smirnoff. For example, Smirnoff posted a 4.0% gain in 2008 and making it the top-selling spirit in the U.S., leveraging its rainbow of flavors as well as its inviting price (2009). This pricing strategy must be employed carefully for luxury goods like vodka, since consumers still perceive that "Vodka should not be cheap. It is not a product of first necessity." Even though higher-priced brands are seeing slower growth, consumers are still spending a lot of money to purchase these prestigious brands.

Reference Group: Vodka consumers use reference groups such as co-workers, friends, and family as a guide to select a brand, since vodka is a product that can be shared in social occasions and consumers tend to please all of those groups when they gather. Thus, group situations constitute their purchase decisions.

Packaging: Packaging has always played an important role in developing brand image, and the vodka industry is not exceptional. According to Adam Rosen, the brand manager of Wyborowa Vodka, the vodka industry is much more image conscious than other liquors (Labbrand Consulting Co., Ltd., 2009). In addition to ingredients and taste, packing is another factor influencing vodka drinkers' buying decision- the vodka they choose should make a statement to others. Thus, the bottle design should display sophistication and class. For example, Svedka's new bottle reflects their "cheap chic" positioning, allowing consumers to purchase a premium vodka at a competitive price (2009). This should appeal to hip night life lovers, but not older customers accustomed to having a casual drink at home. It was found that the older audience will appreciate a classic bottle design that looks nice in their alcohol cabinet (2009). As Svedka hasn't redesigned their bottle for over 10 years, the repeat customers likely have a strong connection to the old brand image (2009). In short, packing can influence decisions made through constructive process at the time of purchase.

6. History of Brand Advertising

Absolut Vodka has become famous mainly due to its advertising campaigns. The shape of the bottle of Absolut vodka is very unique and is emphasized in all their advertisements. For about 25 years, the focus on the product has been the main theme in advertisements for Absolut Vodka. They ran campaigns of humor featuring their unique bottle. It is the unique advertising campaigns that have made Absolut a popular brand going up to the heights of Coke and Nike.

In 1981 they started the "Absolut ________" campaign. "Absolut Perfection" which was created in 1981 was the first advertisement and it is still popular today. They had clever concepts like "Absolut L.A. which showed a swimming pool shaped like a bottle or "Absolut Warhol" which showed the painting of a bottle by the artist. One of their popular ads is the "Absolut London'", which shows the door of 10 Downing Street resembling an Absolut bottle. In a 1988 feature of a playboy magazine they showed a bottle like a model and this ad was called "Absolut Centerfold". Then there were issues "Absolut Disco" (2007) related to dance music in 2008 Absolut Masquerade under the theme "Every night is a masquerade" and in 2009 the Absolut Rock Edition as a tribute to rock and roll. They wanted to end this campaign in 1997 with the launch of an offbeat bottle campaign on April fool's day and it was very popular. But it took 9 more years to come up with a different campaign due to its limited advertising budget. The "Absolut ____" campaign enabled the brand to become the best-selling imported vodka in the United States as sales rose from 20,000 cases in 1981 to almost 5 million in 2007.

In January 2006 they started a campaign called "The Absolut Vodka" which had a theme on the pun between the brand name and the word "absolute". This multimedia campaign demonstrates the headship of Absolut Vodka as "The Absolut Vodka" and observes other classics that are "absolutes" in our culture. This campaign is an evolution of the brand's iconic, 25-year-old advertising and one that underscores the brand's marketing ingenuity and continuous creativity. This campaign was broadcasted on television in the United States. The campaign also featured online and print executions. The new execution was built on the brand's existing campaigns. The broadcast depicts a collage of "absolute" moments and icons that bases modern culture. Pictures include "The Absolut Morale Booster" (Marilyn Monroe singing for U.S. troops) and "The Absolut Road Trip" (first manned trip to the moon). The print advertisement features an Absolut Vodka bottle levitating over a color-block table with copy that reads "The Absolut Vodka" - the image connotes an exclamation point. The print ad shows the genuinity of Absolut Vodka and conveys only one message that Absolut is "The Absolut Vodka."

"The Absolut Vodka" campaign targeted a new and increasing group of vodka drinkers in the United States. The broadcast is very interactive and is aimed at capturing 'in-the-know' customers. "The Absolut Vodka" campaign was created by TBWA/Chiat/Day, the advertising agency of record for Absolut VODKA.

7. The "In an Absolut World" Campaign

In 2007, Absolut Vodka began its "In An Absolut World" campaign in which the company posted various, often fanciful scenarios of what the target audience might think would constitute a perfect, or "Absolut", reality. The campaign was handled by TBWA/Chiat/Day, part of the TBWA Worldwide division of the Omnicom Group.

The "In An Absolut World" would elicit varying opinions and points of view of customers. It is designed to be an inspiring, humorous, and thought-provoking integrated campaign about what an Absolut World might look like and to initiate a discussion about both universal and everyday subjects, as well as to challenge consumers to express their own visions of the world. Its advertising campaign invites consumers to visualize a world that appeals to them -- one they feel may be more idealized or one that may be a bit "fantastic."

The campaign includes commercials and video clips as well as online ads, print ads, billboards and event marketing. Drinkers were invited to imbibe "In An Absolut World", a fanciful, even surreal, place where common sense prevails and just deserts are always on the menu. For example, on planet Absolut, men can get pregnant, and lying leaders are exposed by their Pinocchio noses.

In fact, Absolut was confronting the same problems as other market-leading brands in that everybody knows who they are, but what are they known for? Thus, The goal is to encourage a dialogue between customers and the brand. The ads proclaim, "This is Absolut's view of the world; you respond, you react". Absolut ads aimed at minority consumers will also begin to feature the "Absolut World" theme.

7.1 Probable Marketing Objectives

Since from 2003 to 2007 over 240 new brands of vodka came and many companies started focusing on the ultra-premium category, the marketing objectives of the "In an Absolut World" include robusting sales growth and re-establishing and re-cementing the Absolut's position in the vodka category in an extremely competitive environment.

7.2 Probable Communication/ Advertising Objectives

The main communication of the "In an Absolut World" campaign is to provide the customers with an opportunity to interact, get involved and associated with the brand, since its customer survey found that the previous one never provided the opportunities for customers to interact and get involved with the brand. Furthermore, the campaign aimed at depicting that Absolut Vodka has a class of its own or a world of its own implicating that it is different and better than other brands. The idea is that "Absolut Vodka is the quintessential vodka, the true vodka, and the standard by which you judge other things."

7.3 Target Market

The target audience is 23 - 34 year urbanites.

7.4 Positioning Statement

To inform urbanites that Absolut Vodka is the quintessential vodka, the true vodka, the standard by which consumers judge other Vodkas.

7.5 Creative Strategy

The "In an Absolut World" advertising campaign requires that consumers imagine a world that appeals to them, something like a perfect world or a fantastic world, thus bringing about different opinions and points of view. Also it needs to these ads in countries worldwide with varying themes relevant to their region.

7.6 Creative Execution

To achieve the creative strategy, they decided not only to show what an ABSOLUT WORLD looks like, but also to give consumers the chance to experience it in their daily lives. The idea was to publish the perfect newspaper and distribute it for free, with real editorial content that was entirely positive and interesting to read. Another idea was to perfect a taxi ride by supplying a fleet of free-of-charge Porsche taxis. The next idea was to make a unique experience at the nearest ATM cash machine by introducing the Happy Hour.

7.7 Media Strategy

The campaign would be put in print ads, billboards, TV commercials, video clips as well as online ads (at absolut.com), and event marketing. Absolut turned its website into an online community where visitors can share and discuss their visions of an "Absolut World", create and upload images, films, worlds, and sounds, create personal profiles; browse, comment, and develop the visions of others.

8. Evaluation of the "In an Absolut World"

The campaign uses a combination of approaches in the major selling idea between creating a brand image, positioning and inherent drama. Absolut developed its strong, memorable identity through image advertising and positioned itself as the quintessential vodka in the consumer's mind.

The creative approach used in the campaign is appropriate for the target audience who is 25 - 34 year urbanites. The message can delivered to the target audience and executed in a combination of imagery and humor. For example, one of the ads shows an expectant couple and the husband is pregnant. Additionally, even though Absolut came up with many ads with different pictures, those ads were able to convey the message to the target audience effectively by using indirect headlines "In an Absolut World" as creative tactics for printing ads and TV commercials. Also, the message is short, clear, novel, and creative as well as provokes their thoughts.

Most of the ads in the campaign use emotional appeal to attract the target audience while others create excitement and provoke thoughts. The ads and some TV commercials try to communicate with the target audience that people wish to see the world in a different manner according what an "Absolut World" means to them or their perceptions. For example, a TV commercial portrays a higher form of conflict resolution when protestors and police do a pillow war.

In addition to creating the brand awareness, the campaign tried to break through the clutter by using both traditional and non-traditional advertising. The campaign has been put in a variety of media and on its Web site. The campaign also achieved one of the communication objectives of the brand is to provide the customers with an opportunity to interact, get involved and associated with the brand. By making the Web site more interactive for customers, Absolut creates a dialogue between the brand and customers and other visitors. Also, Absolut can get their data when those visitors and its customers create personal profile which can be used to develop marketing communications strategy in the future. Moreover, Absolut.com has become an online community where customers and visitors can disc

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