Absolut debuts first Sid Lee brand campaign

Absolut continues its long tradition of working with artists for its "Transform Today" platform

Absolut vodka has undergone a transformation.

After more than 25 years with TBWA as its agency of record, the liquor brand enlisted Sid Lee to drive its global creative last December.

It released the first significant wave of creative from the agency on Monday, along with a new global rallying cry for the brand: Transform Today.

The new tagline – or “brand ethos,” as Sid Lee describes it – is the guiding force behind Absolut’s brand campaign, launched Monday in the U.S., Brazil and Germany, which showcases four artists making “transformative works.”

The spot, set to debut in Canada in October, follows Woodkid, a director and musician; Aaron Koblin, a Google employee who moonlights as a digital artist; Yiqing Yin, a young Parisian couturier; and Rafael Grampá, a Brazilian graphic novel artist, as they create four distinctly different works.

The initiative follows Absolut’s long tradition of working with artists, which dates back to Andy Warhol’s well-known print ads for the brand in the 1980s. More recently the brand has worked with the likes of Damien Hirst and the Canadian artist Justin Broadbent.

Eric Alper, managing partner at Sid Lee Toronto, who led the development of the campaign from the agency’s Amsterdam office, explained Absolut was looking to take a more modern approach to art partnerships in hopes of connecting with millennials who didn’t grow up with a Warhol Absolut poster on the wall of their dorm room, as their parents might have.

Alper said the new brand platform is about Absolut becoming an “agent of transformation” between consumers’ regular selves and their “extraordinary selves.”

“I don’t mean that in the altering sense of vodka,” Alper laughs. “Absolut always shows an extraordinary side of the world, through the lens of art. We’re trying to bring that to life in a way that’s relevant to millennials.”

It has done this, Alper said, by selecting from a pool of more than 500 artists who aren’t well known, but have the potential to become household names. For young people who are still developing their own careers and identities, this approach is more relatable and more authentic than working with established art stars, he said.

The campaign features executions across media, from an extensive out-of-home campaign to print work, both 30- and 60-second spots and four-minute videos detailing the backstory of each artist.

Each of the videos can be found on the refreshed Absolut.com, along with several multimedia experiences related to the campaign, and will be distributed through a YouTube buy and partnerships with several publishers that Absolut plans to announce in the next few weeks.

The global media strategy was led by Vizeum, with assistance from Absolut’s media partners in each market, including Vizeum Canada locally.

Brands Articles

Time for marketers to abandon the safety of the high ground (Book excerpt)

Engagement in the age of tribes means engaging face to face – and pissing the right people off on purpose

Subway Canada gets crafty with new ad campaign

The quick service restaurant touts the art of crafting the perfect sandwich

Crafting small market identity with big market marketing

Shock Top captures a little craft beer identity in a bottle

How to break blind brand loyalty

A new study unveils how brands can disrupt tech habits and win new consumers

Campbell Company of Canada names new president

SC Johnson vet Ana Dominguez takes the helm, replacing Philip Donne

Watch This: Canadian Tire talks to parents about back to school

Moms and dads share a few thoughts (and a few tears) on their kids' first day of school

Ottawa Senators make headlines with new CMO hire

Longtime newspaper executive Peter O’Leary starts his new position Sept. 22

Scotiabank’s Tangerine brand gets a PHD in media

Tangerine CMO Andrew Zimakas on why PHD won the account