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Case Study
Absolut Vodka: Absolutely Successful

Q1What is the foundation of Absolut Vodka's success? Is it the vodka, the bottle, the distribution or the promotion?

The foundation of Absolut Vodka's success is mainly the bottle and the promotion. The design of the bottle was recognised at an early stage as crucial to success. The bottles were elegant, different, simple and very Swedish. The resulting Absolut bottle was very different from competitor's bottles. The result was a clear high quality vodka, free from dangerous by products. The Absolut bottle was considered a masterpiece in glass design. The timeless shape, the fine lines and the exceptionally clear glass distinguish Absolut from other premium vodka brands. The marketing team came up with a strategy that all advertising should centre around the bottle, the product should not be identified with any particular lifestyle, and the approach should have a timeless yet contemporary feel to it. Every advertisement has a two or three word caption beginning with the word ‘Absolut'. The shape of the bottle as an aesthetic concept sold the idea. It had been decided that there should be no label to hide the crystal clear contents. The team came to the conclusion that some kind of coloured lettering was required. Blue was decided upon as the most visible and attractive colour, the colour is still used for the famous Absolut Vodka logo. The Absolut Vodka bottle has become something of a modern icon. Inspired by the classic Swedish medicine bottle of the late 18th & 19th centuries, the bottle is a harmonious blend of traditional Swedish glass making craft and the best of contemporary design.

Q2How does Absolut's marketing build upon American trends in the late 1980s and early 1990s? Is Absolut a fashion product that will decline with trends?

Yes, I do think Absolut is a fashion product because it is marketed for up market people as they are always keeping in touch with fashion, so when new products come out. Absolut Vodka is highly priced premium vodka and therefore has an aura of up market exclusiveness. In 1985 the New York cult pop artist Andy Warhol asked to paint famous popular people to be associated with their product to attract more people. I don't think Absolut will decline with trends because the rate of new product development is likely to increase in the future, which is necessary if Absolut is to retain its position as a world class brand. Thus, new products will add to its success. The fact that Absolut sought to position itself as "a smart, stylish, contemporary, creative, unexpected, witty brand of superior quality" will not decline due to the Absolut tagline reinforced the name until it did sound like a brand The fact famous people doing ads, add to its success will help it grow, therefore not decline with trends. The marketing has stylish and successfully differentiated a clear alcoholic liquid into a global iconic brand with a premium positioning that other marketing directors can only dream of. Absolut Vodka means much more to consumers than just white alcoholic spirit, it has become an iron rich in style and meaning. The case of Absolut is about product's potential to become a successful brand. The branding formula for Absolut Vodka was: Smart + Showy + Sassy + Sophisticated + Stylish = Absolut's Innovative Hidden Brand Identity. Once the product concept is ready, it has to be turned into a brand concept. The stronger the concept is, the greater the brand success.

Q3Do you believe that Absolut Vodka ‘is an idea whose time has come' and nothing can stop its success?

I don't think nothing could stop Absolut's success. Absolut Vodka uses a unique way of advertising that portrays the vodka in an artistic and humorous way of escaping the everyday troubles. Absolut Vodka's way of advertising helps their advertisements to be noticed better and longer and therefore Absolut will have long continued success....
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