Client Speak: Owning Mixability

Stuart Elliott: Absolut vodka is introducing an elaborate and extensive campaign to promote its flavored varieties – now seven, with the introduction last month of peach – separate from the familiar, long-running campaign that pitches the original unflavored version. The flavors campaign, with a budget estimated at $15 million, exhorts drinkers in a whimsical way to “Find your flavor.”
The flavored varieties of Absolut – Apeach, Citron, Kurant, Mandrin, Peppar, Raspberri and Vanilia – made up about 12 percent, or 550,000 cases, of the estimated 4.6 million cases distributed in the United States last year.
Absolut is the No. 1 imported vodka and the No. 3 liquor brand over all, behind Bacardi rum and Smirnoff (domestic) vodka. But its growth has slowed in recent years in the face of the increasing popularity of other vodka brands.
Distilled spirits in flavors like lemon, apple, raspberry, mango and vanilla are a major ingredient in the rise of what is being called the cocktail culture. After a couple of decades of losing sales to beer and wine, liquor is in demand again as consumers from the legal drinking age into their 30’s rediscover the appeal of dressing up for a night out and ordering from bartenders old-school favorites like martinis.
“We’ve seen the cocktail culture coming, we’ve seen it develop in bars, and this is an effort on our part to extend that to at-home occasions like parties and barbecues,” said Tim Murphy, brand director for the Absolut portfolio at the Absolut Spirits Company in New York, a division of V&S Vin & Sprit of Sweden.
“The goal is ‘owning’ mixability,” he added, “being the brand people turn to when they want cocktail ideas.”

About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am now head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.