In August this year, Absolut Vodka launched a new 11-bottle flavor series, all redesigned in the brand’s – now traditional – artistic manner. But why was this something that didn’t surprise us? Why is Absolut the brand with the strongest link to art, music and collaboration, and how did it get to that?

A predominant aspect of Absolut’s success in the marketing world is its bottle. Who would have known that a bottle, supposedly based on a traditional 19th century pharmacy bottle found in Stockholm, could have such an impact on the world? Indeed, the bottle does have a very simple and attractive look, but I bet no one expected it to become as iconic as it did.

One of the first Absolut bottle ads. Image: Flickr/Tartlime

As a Swedish brand trying to reach out to the American public of the 80’s, Absolut knew it needed a strong and determined approach. Using its distinct bottle as an advertising advantage was the simple, yet genius, idea that brought Absolut to its contemporary glory. The brand owes this decision-making bravery to the fact that it was reportedly built upon visions and visionaries that gave it the strength to say “why not?”

Iconic bottle-focused ads. Images:

After establishing its famous bottle-centric advertising style and thus portraying stories, thoughts, visions, ideas and the whole world through its product’s simple shape, Absolut thought “why not?” when it came to collaborations, as well. Have in mind these were the mid-80’s and the target audience was young, vibrant and modern. Therefore, in 1986, Andy Warhol himself suggested the idea of doing an Absolut bottle-based piece and was then commissioned to make the first ever artwork for an Absolut ad.

And so the famous Absolut collaboration process began.

Between then and now, Absolut has done numerous collaborations with artists, musicians and designers, whether big or small, and has architected its very own creative world. Limited editions, artistic opportunities and creative promotions now all fit into an “Absolut world” just because someone once thought that a brand shouldn’t be limited to one aspect, one type of collaborator, one approach, but that it should rather find its spark in many different creative areas. And it worked. Unveiling novel ways to tell your stories through the arts, music, fashion, people and all other symbols of the contemporary landscape keeps a brand fresh and intriguing. It is an approach that will always work – and Absolut is the proof.

This article was originally published in our September Regular Issue