Absolut Vodka Cut, above, is just the latest in a series of the Swedish brand’s embrace of the LGBT community which dates back to 1981, before it was fashionable.
Starting with ads in The Advocate and After Dark, and extending to charitable and cause-related donations and outdoor advertising, Absolut is marking its three-decade relationship with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community with a yearlong anniversary campaign, “Absolut Outrageous” (“Out” appears in pink), featuring the tagline: “Celebrating 30 years of going out and coming out.”
Now that it’s popular, established marketers like Procter & Gamble, Unilever, General Motors, Macy’s, Campbell Soup, Orbitz, PepsiCo and American Airlines are all on the LGBT bandwagon. But Absolut was the “first big brand to commit to and pursue the market” by being “the first continuously present major brand in gay media,” said Michael Wilke, former executive director of the Commercial Closet Association, now senior U.S. consultant for Out Now Consulting.
An official sponsor of the GLAAD Media Awards for years, the brand also sponsored “RuPaul’s Drag Race” on LGBT-themed network Logo.
Competitor ROKK Vodka also highlighted its inclusive marketing, as sponsors of the 22nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards in March in New York. With a tagline of "Filtering out inequality," the brand encouraged presenters and winners to incorporate "ROKK Vodka" into their speeches that evening in return for a charitable contribution — raising $10,000 in New York alone.
Absolut’s archive of ads include “Absolut Perfection,” featuring halos; “Absolut Out,” three-dimensional closets with open doors; and “Absolut Commitment,” with matching bottles atop a wedding cake. An early ad stacked film canisters into the iconic Absolut bottle labeled with the titles of gay films like "Stonewall," "Boys Life," and "Show Me Love," and a caption: "Absolut Achievement."
This latest print ad campaign is from Pernod Ricard USA, TBWA/Chiat/Day in New York, SPI Marketing in New York and photographer David LaChapelle whose rendering of performance artist Amanda Lepore and unicorns takes center-fold.
In addition to buys in gay publications like The Advocate, Instinct, After Dark and Out, the new anniversary-themed ads will also run in Vanity Fair and Vogue.
“It’s the celebration of a loyal affair between us and the LGBT community. Yes, we’re a business, but at the end of the day it’s our choice to have invested for 30 years…[part of being] open-minded brand,” said Maxime Kouchnir, VP vodka portfolio at Pernod Ricard USA in New York in the Times.
Open-minded, social savvy and consistently bringing a humorous edge to a steadily declining prejudice.
Absolut Vodka Drag Queen Ad: