ABSOLUT VODKA MOVES INTO THE MUSIC BUSINESS

Marketing Goal: Enable Consumers to 'Listen to the Brand'

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STOCKHOLM (AdAge.com) -- After years of weaving the worlds of art and fashion into its advertising, Absolut vodka is entering the music business with a
From the Absolut online download site at Absolut.com.
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CD of club music, according to the company.

Called "Absolut Threetracks," the first CD has been distributed to 3,500 disc jockeys at clubs around the world and can be downloaded from Absolut's Web site.

The logo of the new effort features a sound speaker the size of a gigantic flying saucer hovering over a digital cityscape that is enveloped in its shadow. The campaign concept was developed by the Stockholm-based communications agency Strobe.

New brand platform
"This is an entirely new communication platform for the Absolut brand," said Michael Persson, market communications director at company headquarters in Stockholm. "It's a plan we've had for a long time and we have been working on how to combine such a visual brand with the world of music in the best possible way."

The move comes at a time when at least one U.S. music company -- Roc-A-Fella Records -- moved in the opposite direction to acquire Scottish vodka company Armadale. New York-based Roc-A-Fella now incorporates references to the product in its lyrics and appearances by its co-founding rap star, Jay-Z. As part of its broadening promotions, Armadale's Web site is now soliciting women to submit their photos and applications to be "Armadale Girls" to star in the planned Armadale Vodka calendar.

In another similar convergence of music and liquor marketing, U.S. rap star Busta Rymes recently signed an agreement with Allied Domecq to continue the promotion of Courvoisier that he originally did for free in the lyrics of his songs.

Vodka and fashion
In its new venture, Absolut plans no advertising for its music effort. In the past, Absolut has done fashion projects with famous designers, leading to the Absolut Versace, Absolut Ford and Absolut Gaultier ads. And as far back as 1985, Andy Warhol did his Absolut Warhol interpretation of the iconic bottle.

"For years, our consumers have seen interpretations of the brand by some of the world's most prominent artists and designers," Mr. Persson said. "With this new project they will also be able to listen to the brand: This is the voice of Absolut."

Consumers can listen to and download the music on a new version of Absolut's Web site (absolut.com) and click on music-video-like images that accompany each of the three tracks.

The first tracks to be promoted by Absolut are by Taxi, Rollercone and Aril Brikha. The Absolut Web site was developed by Farfar, a leading Stockholm-based interactive agency that has won two Cyber Grand Prix prizes in the last four years at the International Advertising Festival in Cannes, France.

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