Absolut Cities: Limited Edition Vodka Series by Absolut

Absolut Cities: Limited Edition Vodka Series by Absolut

Absolut has, hands down, some of the best vodka marketing in any industry anywhere on the planet. No matter what you think of their vodka, their ability to seize a concept and execute it is without peer. They were one of the first to come up with popularizing infusions or flavored vodkas with their citron and launched an industry. Glitzy bottles are part of their marketing arsenal with sparkling, glittering covers wrapping Absolut bottles now overflowing the shelves in anticipation of Christmas. They have many and memorable ad campaigns.

This year of 2009, they have been releasing limited runs of city editions of vodka. Have you been walking along a store and been struck by overwhelming impulse to buy a Monopoly game based upon your alma mater university or home state? Have you been loitering in the chips aisle at the grocery store, seen a limited edition bag of Dorritos celebrating some region or another and immediately purchased? In keeping with celebrating locality, Absolut is creating flavored vodkas celebrating individual cities. Being done before by different products does not temper the effect and the coolness one bit. In fact, we feel vodka and cocktails are especially appropriate for this kind of method and outreach. It's like a bobble-head of your favorite sports hero; it's like grade school lunchbox adorned with Star Wars characters; it's like the letters P-I-N-K across the butt of teenage girl clothing... that little added flourish makes it impossible to pass these things up.

To get a sense of where the campaign came from, check out the passage in the book Absolut Sequel: The Absolut Advertising Story Continues by Richard Lewis. The first and original Aboslut cities campaign of the 1980s is described as something that changed the world of advertising. The campaign begins with an innocent ad called Absolut LA, which showed a swimming pool in the shape of an Absolut bottle shot from above replete with Southern California palm trees. The books evokes the moment saying: It made us realize people wanted a home team - in this case, ad - to root for. And it instilled in us the idea to 'think local, act local.' This may come as a surprise to Generation-Y but farmers' markets were not always the coolest places to hang out back in the 1970s and early 80s. The campaign went on to recognize other cities. It recognized Boston with ads showing boxes of tea floating in a harbor (in the shape of a bottle of Absolut) and an above-shot of the Boston Cetics home court with the painted lines of the key shaped to look like a bottle. Absolut Philadelphia came out with a picture of Benjamin Franklin with his trademark spectacles altered to look like Absolut bottles lying flat. Absolut Killington (graffiti bottle) and Absolut Bronx (boxing locker room) followed. And so forth.

The ads were brilliant. They were local, they were meaningful, but they were also whimsical. They blithely reside in what we regard as the perfect alcohol milieu: a thing to be passionately proud of and opinionated about but simultaneously able to laugh about it. Alcohol is an important tradition; a point of pride. But who doesn't get a little irritated at the high-brow snoot who lectures interminably about the merits of a given spirit and directs precisely how it ought to be imbibed? These ads say exactly what everyone wants to say to the ultra-orthodox and overly-somber elite: take your bottle and shove it up your ass; we're here to have fun. Drink good stuff, of course, but still have fun.

So now, in 2009, Absolut revived the campaign but in a new way. Where before the ads celebrated the spirit of the city all in the same standard vodka that is still available to this day, the modern campaign is creating specific flavors and infusions that celebrate the spirit of the cities. A great idea has now been resurrected in a meaningful way. Check out the early editions:

  • Absolut New Orleans: One of the first of the series of city editions was Absolut New Orleans. Proceeds were actually directed towards relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina in the New Orleans area. The vodka itself is an infusion of mango and pepper. This combination is one of the braver conceptions but probably appropriate for one of the culinary capitals of the nation. It was first released in August of 2009 with expectations to sell prior to the end of the year.
  • Absolut Los Angeles: The left coast of the nation is celebrated in what we could consider a tongue-in-cheek fashion with the Absolut Los Angeles edition, second in the line of city-inspired vodkas. It is an infusion of the hippest fruits around, combining acai berries from the Amazonian rain forest and flooding the world with anti-oxidant creations of all kinds; pomegranate, which is so last year in sexy anti-oxidant fruits but still popular in many different recipes and flavors; and blueberries which are the stodgy old classic anti-oxidant fruit. Best of all, it includes the flavors of the acerola fruit, which is so hip we'd never heard of it before. (Wikipedia tells us it's a West Indian cherry and - guess what - known for anti-oxidant and vitamin C properties.) Californians have spearheaded health-foods from organic produce to sustainable fishing to feng shui dining rooms. Given that, we're pretty sure that any self-respecting member of Los Angeles can not only name each of these healthful fruits but cooks with it, puts it in herbal teas, and some might even bathe in its essences. And they're proud of it! Nothing could be more appropriate and fitting for the city of Los Angeles. As a special extra, proceeds are going to the charity of the Green Way-a local LA charity to help clean up pollution.
  • Absolut Boston: To the great delight of the so-called teabaggers everywhere protesting merrily away against the modern-era, confiscatory taxes and truly staggering national debt, this vodka honors the Boston Tea Party tradition by offering a vodka flavored by tea. It also combines it with an infusion of elderflower. This is an especially exciting conception because of the amazing popularity of sweet tea flavored vodkas (this Absolut Boston edition has that going for it) but the sweetener is the infusion of elderflower, using the flavor made so excellently by St Germain and other liqueurs. Between the politics, the tea, and the elderflower, this particular edition has everything going for it. Absolut Boston is the most recent launch of the series. It was later re-released as Absolut Wild Tea.
  • UPDATE: Absolute Brooklyn: This was an updated expression using Spike Lee to assist with the bottle's design. It features apple (for the "Big Apple," naturally) and ginger. The label was later released as Absolut Orient Apple.
  • UPDATE: Absolut SF: The brand returns to golden state of California with Absolut San Francisco with a strange mixture of papaya, dragonfruit, and white grape (presumably in honor of sun, wine, and... mythical beasts?). The label was later re-released as Absolute Grapevine.
  • UPDATE: Absolut Miami: The sixth launch comes with an all-night party in Miami on New Year's Day of 2012 where the flavor is made of passion fruit and orange blossom.
  • UPDATE: Absolut Chicago: The seventh launch comes with the flavors of olive and rosemary... designed specifically for the dirty martini-lovers out there.
  • UPDATE: Absolut Texas: the eighth launch is the first to feature Texas, now celebrating southwestern cuisine with flavors of cucumber and Serrano chili.
  • Are there more cities coming out in the future? Yes! And you can decide which ones. Consumers can go to the website and nominate their favorite cities. Coffee flavored vodkas for Seattle? Syrup flavored vodkas for Montpelier, Vermont? Beef flavored vodkas for Texas? (Not so crazy, there is a bacon flavored vodka in this world.) Everything is on the table.

    One of the horrifying things about purchasing liquor in the modern era is the damnable mob of vodka infusions. They are legion. Many big vodka labels carry a dozen or more different flavors... what reasonable and right-minded person is going to be able to sample all of those or buy all of them? It is overwhelming in many respects and it's hard to figure out what to do or even what to recommend. Infusions from different vodka labels are crowding the bar's shelf space for little better reason than keeping up with the Joneses.

    Limited, city editions give us a reason to buy and a reason to taste. We have every expectation it'll be a big hit for Absolut. It's a great concept for the modern era that is increasingly looking to local production and for communities that have always celebrated their own regional and individual cultures. For Absolut, it's a nice example of a big company acting locally.

    Published by Proof66.com