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EVENTS & PROMOTIONS: ABSOLUT-LY UPSCALE: VODKA WANTS TO MIX WITH OTHER 'BEST' BRANDS AT EVENT

By Published on .

Seagram cos.' Absolut is taking an unusual approach to its title sponsorship of "The Absolut Best of L.A."-it's inviting the very thing most title sponsors shun, sponsor clutter.

But only the best brands need apply. Absolut has invited a number of brands to share its spotlight to enhance the vodka's image by association.

The four-day lifestyle event targeting upscale consumers takes place on the backlot of Universal Studios June 12 to 15. More than 70,000 people are expected to soak up gourmet food and drink, live music, entertainment, fashion shows, and other diversions.

"We've selected a number of top brands that go together with Absolut to create a total lifestyle image that says 'the best,' and the whole effect enhances Absolut in its role as title sponsor," said Howard Mauskopf, president of Best of Festivals, Westwood, Calif., which is co-producing the second annual event with Absolut.

FROM WATER TO ESPRESSO

The selected sponsors include Vons Co.'s Pavilions upscale supermarket division, Starbucks Cof-fee Co., Perrier Group of America, Polaroid Corp. and Nestle's Nespresso brand espresso products. Los Angeles Magazine and Universal Studios are also major sponsors.

Despite the emphasis on upscale consumers, it's not hard to get into the event, which is open to the public. Tickets are $10 each for adults per day and $2 for children.

"Anyone can get in," Mr. Mauskopf explained, "but we expect mostly upscale consumers because of the way we market it-to find out about it, you have to be tapped into upscale-targeted media, restaurants, stores and services."

Starbucks is promoting the event in 114 of its L.A. area locations; Pavilions touts the event inside its stores and in promotions for featured products; Los Angeles Magazine is also heavily promoting the event.

Demonstrations and booths at the event include the "Best" in various categories ranging from acupuncture to pet stores; products showcased include Mumm's champagne, Robert Mondavi wines, Pyramid Ales and golf products including the opportunity to get a personalized video golf critique from software created by

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