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Absolut Hogwash

After milking the bottle concept for 20 years, Absolut and their creative evangelists, TBWA Chiat/Day, have opted to "reveal another piece of [the vodka's] personality." In effect, Absolut is going to resort to what all the other "luxury" vodkas (not to mention scotches, wines and beers) have been flogging since the beginning of time, i.e. composing hymns in honor of the quality of their craftsmanship, the richness of their wheat and the purity of their water, etc.

An 8-page magazine ad (scheduled to appear in Time and Food & Wine) touts this fresh new creative thinking with glorious black and white images of wheat fields, babbling springs and other beauty shots around Åhus, the Swedish town where Absolut is distilled. Naturally, no one less than Helmut Newton was qualified to take the photographs. The copy accompanying his magnificent images qualifies as poetry in its own right. One such introspective masterpiece muses "If the earth is reaped bare of all its fruit will it rise again to begin another life?"
Hold your applause. Of course, Absolut is not doing away with the bottle concept altogether.
Richard Lewis (world-wide account director for Absolut at TBWA, not the comedian) says that while the new ads are a departure for the brand, Absolut has always used many approaches in the past. The traditional Absolut bottle will appear elsewhere. Thank God for that. "Still", he says, "the agency may use this approach again or expand it to other publications." How edgy.

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