Posted on | October 22, 2015
Written by | Kristen Wolfe Bieler
With a new package, campaign and ‘Electrik’ bottle, Absolut emphasizes role as a leading nightlife brand.
There is nothing subtle about Absolut’s most recent limited-edition. In sleek, radiant metallic—one shiny silver, one electric blue—Absolut Electrik is nearly impossible to ignore on any shelf or back bar. But the goal of this release is far more ambitious than simply being eye-catching.
“The Absolut Electrik bottles are part of our larger ‘Nights’ campaign,” explains Nick Guastaferro, Absolut Brand Director. “We are essentially reclaiming our position as the leader of nightlife. While we have always been a brand about nightlife, we haven’t spoken about it in recent years. Now we want to showcase what happens when you infuse your night with Absolut energy.”
This fall, Absolut launched the Electrik House in downtown Los Angeles, a consumer experience for 500 people which completely reimagined the typical “house party.” The digital and social campaign leading up to and during the event gave consumers an active role, and it ended with an unconventional performance. (As of this writing, many details are still embargoed, but if you recall the shipping yard in Red Hook, Brooklyn, which the brand transformed into a nightclub last fall, at which music artist Zedd emerged from a shipping container in a beam of light, you’ll have an idea.)
“We know that during the October-November-December holiday season, there is a tremendous amount of at-home entertaining; 70% of Absolut sales are off-premise during this time,” says Guastaferro. “With the Electrik bottle and the Absolut Electrik House we want to give consumers the ability to reinvigorate their own home entertaining by pushing boundaries. It’s about taking house parties to the next level.”
Sporting a New Look
The Electrik bottle isn’t the brand’s only packaging innovation; the legendary Absolut package has also been renovated, scheduled to hit shelves the first quarter of 2016. “This project has been in the works for a couple of years, and we thought very hard about it because we are working with one of the most iconic bottles in the world,” says Guastaferro.
One of the most significant updates was to add the “A” logo to the back of the bottle, which creates a bold, new shorthand for the Absolut brand. The bottle shape has been strengthened to feature more clearly defined shoulders, straightened neck and body, and a flattened bottom, while also using a more environmentally-friendly reduced glass weight. There’s also a new quality message spelled out on the front. “The new bottle is modern, contemporary and led by design; it will have far better shelf presence on- and off-premise,” he adds.
The Oak Advantage
With all the innovation in the vodka space, it’s hard to imagine any territory left unexplored. Yet Per Hermansson, Absolut’s Director of Sensory Strategy, the creative mastermind behind the liquid at Absolut, found inspiration in the mixology trend of barrel-aged cocktails, and created Absolut Oak. With a rich mouthfeel and subtle notes of smoke, vanilla and caramel, Absolut Oak derives its flavors and amber hue from time spent in American, French and Swedish
“Oak is for the consumer looking for the complexity and smoothness of a brown spirit, but still wants the lightness of vodka,” explains Guastaferro. “When we talk to consumers, many report that they want to kickstart the night with vodka, and continue with it through the evening, but perhaps want more depth of character, which is what Oak offers.”
Not to be confused with whisky, Oak is first and foremost a vodka and it’s designed for to be versatile in cocktails from a Mule (ginger beer and lime) to a Sour (lemon juice and simple syrup) or Oak Apple Pie Shot (apple juice, lemon and cinnamon syrup). “Sampling has been key with Oak, since it is something that has never been done before,” says Guastaferro. “But we are known for quality and innovation, so consumers trust us a bit—and once the taste it, they are sold.”