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Pernod Touts Absolut’s New Global Campaign As “Game-Changer”

September 9, 2013

Seeking to ignite growth and reaffirm its status as a cultural icon, Absolut is set to introduce a new global ad push centered around collaborations with four up-and-coming artists. Titled “Transform Today,” Absolut’s new positioning is being touted by brand-owner Pernod Ricard as “continuing the brand’s history of championing the cultural impact of contemporary art.” The global launch includes 60- and 30-second TV spots, a series of print ads and an online component, all celebrating the work of artists Woodkid (illustrator, designer, director, musician), Aaron Koblin (digital media artist), Yiqing Yin (fashion designer) and Rafael Grampá (graphic novelist).

“Transform Today is a call to arms—a rallying cry for a generation of creativity to break free from the idea that anything is predetermined and to take control of their future. The brand ethos manifests our belief that tomorrow is not a given, it’s for everyone to create,” says Absolut’s vice president, global marketing, Jonas Tåhlin. The new campaign was the first work for the brand by its new creative agency, Sid Lee.

Absolut remains the second-largest vodka brand both in the U.S. market and globally, but it has fared better outside the United States over the past half-decade. According to Impact Databank, it rose 1.6% to 4.6 million cases in the U.S. last year, but remains well below its high-water mark of 5 million cases in 2007, the year before Pernod acquired it along with the rest of Sweden’s Vin & Sprit for $8.3 billion. Globally, Absolut has been on a steady rise—expanding its presence in key emerging vodka markets like Brazil—adding 1.5 million cases to its total since 2009. Last year, the brand rose 2.5% internationally to 11.5 million cases.

Absolut has sought to widen appeal in recent months with innovations like ultra-premium offshoot Absolut Elyx ($50 a 1-liter), a new artisan series, Absolut Craft, and a new oak-aged “hybrid spirit,” Absolut Amber, which just launched into North American travel retail. The brand also recently repackaged its flavor line in a bid to feature “abstract interpretations” of each flavor rather than the straightforward fruit imagery that has become the norm in the flavor category. But the new “Transform Today” campaign appears to be Pernod’s most aggressive effort in recent memory to remake its largest brand for a new generation of global consumers.

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