Michel Roux, the marketer best known for ushering Absolut Vodka into every bar in the United States, has died. He was 78.
Born in France, he moved to the U.S. in the 1960s, working in hospitality and spirits distribution. As the CEO of Crillon Importers, he set his sights on an obscure Swedish vodka brand with a beautiful bottle, which was based on the look of flasks of traditional medicine. In the early ‘80s, he enlisted TBWA to introduce the rebranded Absolut to the public, and one of the most memorable art-forward campaigns in history was born.
“Art director Geoff Hayes needed a break from concepting,” recounts TBWA New York CEO Rob Schwartz in a tribute memo sent to agency employees on Friday. “He drew a bath, sunk down and closed his eyes. As he drifted off he suddenly saw it: A bottle with a halo and the line: ABSOLUT PERFECTION. He leapt from the tub, and probably wearing nothing more than a towel, began sketching that idea and a few more.”