Swedish vodka has been produced since the 15th century. Then it was a drink of branvin, whose name literally means “fiery wine”. After a while, distilled alcohol, which was called vodka, was used as a remedy. And in the XVII century vodka has already become a national Swedish drink. The history of the brand “Absolut”, although more modest, but also inspires respect – he is already 130 years old. The first bottle of alcoholic beverage appeared on sale in 1879.
Then businessman Lars Olsson Smith introduced a new variety of vodka called Absolut rent Branvin, whose name was translated as “absolute pure vodka”. The novelty differed from competitors by its unusual production technology, during which lay continuous cleaning. It allowed best to clean the drink of unnecessary impurities and preserve its valuable properties. This method of rectification is also used today when creating vodka “Absolute”. Lars Olsson Smith received the nickname “The King of Vodka” and now his portrait can be found on every bottle of elite alcoholic beverage.
And Lars appeared in a small Swedish family in 1836. Scandinav already from childhood showed commercial skills. He began to work at the age of eleven, and at the age of fifteen he became the chief clerk of a large store. Having quarreled with the owner, Lars resigned and founded his own company, taking with them clients. To his 18 years, Smith controlled the sale of vodka in southern Sweden. By the middle of the XIX century the young man had already been nicknamed “The King of Vodka”. The official authorities did not like this businessman, and they decided to create unacceptable conditions for his company. In response, Lars responded on his own. He moved stores from Stockholm to the nearest island to him and began using free boats to take all who wanted to buy his excellent vodka free of charge.
By the end of the 1870s, more than 50% of the country’s alcohol was produced in the Skane area in the south of Sweden. Lars Olsson again decided to go all-in. He began to control several plants, attacking the sales channels with substandard products. On the side of the king of vodka even trade unions came out. Those called to boycott those outlets that sell cheap and low-quality vodka. All this led to the fact that by the end of the century, Smith firmly entrenched in the market and even began to supply their products for export. This made the alcoholic tycoon one of the richest people in the country. But he eventually lost his fortune. In 1913, Smith died, he died a beggar, leaving behind him only debts and legal cases.
Already in the 1970s there was one who decided to continue the work of Smith. This daredevil was the president of the Swedish Wine and Vodka Corporation Lars Lindmark. In 1979, his state-owned company began to produce and export high-quality vodka, thus marking the centennial anniversary of the product “Absolute Rent Branvin”. The company immediately set a high standard for itself, drawing attention to the American market. High competition did not frighten the Swedes, but it was there that you could get the maximum profit. After all, in the US, more than 60% of all vodka produced in the West is consumed. Attention was paid to the dynamics that the total consumption of alcohol in America decreased, but the use of quality vodka only increased. In this regard, Absolut was at the right time, in the market, the drink was positioned as a high-quality with long traditions, capable of satisfying even discerning customers.
Initially, the marketing strategy emphasized the Swedish origin of the new vodka. She even wanted to be called “Vodka Swedish blondes” and depicted on the bottle of two Vikings. According to another version, the drink should have been called “Vodka of the royal court”, and on it was supposed to be a frosted decanter. Swedes even offered to wrap the bottle in paper to emphasize the status of the drink. However, all these ideas did not give consumers the desired idea of the quality of vodka and its origin.Studies have shown that elite vodka on the market is in demand in contrast to cognac and whiskey. After all, white drinks seem cleaner, and therefore safer.
After the bottle shape was chosen, the marketing image of the products was born. The advertiser Gunnar Broman, looking at the drug store window in Stockholm, saw there a simple but at the same time elegant and non-standard chemist’s bottle. Designers have finalized this form, deciding to abandon the bottle altogether. Thus, the crystal clear content of the bottle was fully demonstrated. The inscription was decided to make blue, so that it was both noticeable and attractive. Nobody expected that the updated version of the Swedish pharmacy bottle will soon be recognized as a masterpiece of modern design. The classical form with clear contours along with transparent glass created a feeling of simplicity and purity.
The firm received both a drink and a bottle, there was a case for the name. Originally vodka was called “Absolute Pure Vodka”, that is “absolutely pure vodka”. But under US rules, such a name could not be registered in the US, since the word “absolute” was often used and could not be considered a trademark. Then the Swedes decided to drop the last letter of the word, removing the obstacle. Thus, the name acquired a certain Scandinavian flavor. The word “clean” was also removed, which also caused questions from lawyers. And to emphasize the origin of the drink, the name “Country of Sweden” was added to its name.
Such attention to the smallest details and miscalculation of the market situation together with the rate on the high quality of the drink could not help but make their business. By 1982, Absolut vodka outperformed its rival, Finlandia, although it appeared on the American market ten years before. In 1985, sales in the US “Absolut” overtook the Soviet Stolichnaya (“Stoly”), and in fact it was considered the nearest competitor to the Swedes. As a result, the product became the most popular of its kind from those imported into America.
Market successes of vodka were heated up unprecedented among manufacturers of alcohol advertising company. In 1980, a whole series of commercials “Absolut” started, which is still relevant today. Since then, vodka advertising has always looked the same way – a bottle was depicted and below it was a witty inscription, the first word in which was always “Absolut”. The first video Absolut Perfection (“Absolute Perfection”) today is considered the classic of advertising. The image of vodka quickly overgrew the frame of posters, and even a whole ABSOLUTE art appeared. The orders of the brand have already been executed by more than 400 artists. And who said that you can create only on paper?
So, in Kansas sowed even a whole field in the form of a famous bottle. The size of this work was twelve football fields, and it was performed by Stan Hurd, who had previously noted a portrait of van Gogh from sunflower. Such a large-scale advertising looks great from the air. And in 1992, a Christmas tree in London’s Covent Garden was tonsured in the form of the same famous bottle. The designers of Sweden, Switzerland and America work on the popularization of the image. So, in the Alps there is a sculpture of “absolute” vodka 11 meters high, and in the Swedish ice hotel there is a five-meter bottle of “Absolut”.
There are a lot of links between the brand and the world of fashion. In 1987, David Cameron, commissioned by a Swedish company, made the first collection of clothes for her name. Since then, Absolut has been cooperating with many famous designers, paying special attention to Gianni Versace. If other manufacturers simply invest in organizing various cultural events to improve the image, then Absolut is an unusual sponsor. The company does not donate money, it enables artists to become famous through the brand. The Swedes make a special bet on modern art in the style of pop art and outrageous artists. Today, the brand is firmly associated with the visual arts of the consumer.
Marketing achievements are expressed both in sales figures and in the recognition of professionals. So, Absolut is the only foreign brand that got to the Hall of Fame of the American Marketing Association. In 1998, the Swedish government sold a glorious alcohol brand to the French from Pernod Ricard for $ 9.2 billion.