Absolut has introduced its first new global campaign in 27 years, taking on the world with a progressive spirit of hopefulness. "Our consumers are intelligent, and we hope they have a gut reaction that sparks conversations and challenges them to think about their vision of an 'Absolut World,' " Tim Murphy, Absolut Spirits Co. senior brand director, announced in a launch statement. Among the multimedia efforts, print and outdoor ads, from TBWA/Chiat/Day/New York, are led by this reimagination of Times Square in which all the billboards and jumbo screens have been replaced with fine art. It's probably a safe bet that most imported-vodka buyers aren't too thrilled with Times Square as Las Vegas in Midtown, but why do an anti-advertising ad about it?
"Times have changed," says TBWA CD Robert Smiley. "There are few absolutes; everything is debatable. Issues are the discourse of the day, and satire and humor are used to discuss everything, both serious and trivial. It's how we deal with the insane world around us." Which is to say, in the context of Absolut's new "World" philosophy it's not so strange that "the launch ad is actually an ad criticizing advertising," he believes. "Most of us would prefer art to billboards, and there are so many things that could be made better if we just stepped out of our expectations and tried to make things a little more 'Absolut.' It's not necessarily about perfection but about making the world better by seeing it with fresh eyes. We're always hoping and dreaming about a more 'Absolut' place that's where we'd like to live."
In the PDF, see where Absolut lives re politics, feminism and the environment. In another iteration of the campaign, beginning May 14, the brand will host a week of guerrilla activities in New York intended to "make the city a better place," according to Absolut. This will include complimentary rickshaw rides, music downloads, "VIP treatment" at select downtown restaurants and clubs, and MetroCard giveaways.