In marketing circles Absolut vodka has always been famous for its ads. Today I learned Absolut will become famous for ad-inspired product innovations: 2 flavored vodkas celebrating America cities. Very inventive and very smart. The first flavors are New Orleans (easy) and Los Angeles (hard.) The New Orleans flavor has a Cajun twist, while the LA’s is based on a mélange of berries.
Absolut is breaking from convention in two ways: moving away from single flavored vodka, say lemon, to a mixture of flavors. But the bigger idea is tying the flavor provenance to a city. Every city is pregnant with “flavor” (as Fab 5 Freddy might say) and the imagery associated with that flavor is what will carry the Absolut message. TBWA/Chiat/Day now has a new canvas for Absolut’s advertising, which I hope it will use to re-invigorate the spirits category.
One little misstep I should mention is the cause-related element of the effort. Donations are not a reason to try these vodkas and it taints the excitement. Make the launch about the flavors and the city. Selling the “flavor” of New Orleans will do more for the city than a big check on the steps of city hall. Make the donations, but make them quietly. Peace!