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Absolut Vodka

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Absolut Vodka
ManufacturerThe Absolut Company AB (Pernod Ricard)
Country of origin Åhus, Sweden
Alcohol by volume 40%
Proof (US)80–100
Related productsList of vodkas

Absolut Vodka is a brand of vodka, produced near Åhus, in southern Sweden. Absolut is a part of the French group Pernod Ricard. Pernod Ricard bought Absolut for €5.63 billion in 2008 from the Swedish state. Absolut is one of the largest brands of spirits in the world (after Smirnoff, Bacardi) and is sold in 126 countries.


The Absolut Company plant in Åhus, Sweden

Absolut was established in 1879 by Lars Olsson Smith. Smith challenged the city of Stockholm's liquor marketing monopoly with his vodka. It was sold outside the city border at a lower price than the monopoly's product. Smith offered free boat rides to the distillery and "Rent Brännvin" ("Pure Vodka") was highly successful.[1]

L.O. Smith, the founder of Absolut Rent Brännvin

In 1917, the Swedish government monopolized the country's alcohol industry. Vodka was then sold nationwide under the name "Absolut Rent Brännvin". In 1979, the old name Absolut was picked up when the upper-price range Absolut Vodka was introduced. Renat is the name of another vodka product sold by Pernod Ricard Sweden AB.

Absolut Vodka was introduced to the global market in 1979. Today, Absolut sells over 100 million litres of vodka annually (2018).[2] The vodka is made from winter wheat and is produced now only in Åhus.

Absolut Vodka bottles

Lars Olsson Smith[edit]

Lars Olsson Smith was born in 1836 in Kiaby and died in 1913 in Karlskrona, Sweden. L.O. Smith was an entrepreneur, parliamentarian and founder of Absolut Rent Brännvin (Absolutely pure spirit). It was the inspiration for Absolut Vodka. L.O. Smith launched a method that removes contaminants such as glut in the spirits. L.O. Smith came from a peasant family in Blekinge and quickly made a career in the retail trade as a 6-year-old. He later moved to Stockholm and started manufacturing and selling vodka at his factory at Reimersholme.[3][4]


In the early 1980s in New York, Absolut Vodka was popular among the creative community. Absolut's first advertising campaign was created by TBWA for the brand's U.S. Importer, Carillon Importers, Ltd.

Absolut Vodka is known for its long-running advertising campaign created by TBWA.[5][6] The first of these ads, typical of the rest, was introduced in 1981 and featured a picture of the bottle with a halo over the cap above the slogan "Absolut Perfection".[5]

Absolut's first advertising campaign ran for more than twenty-five years from its launch in 1980. The campaign has encompassed many different kinds of ads, such as art, fashion, cities, spectaculars, Hollywood, etc. The advertising has won hundreds of awards, including charter membership in the American Marketing Association's Marketing Hall of Fame. Absolut was inducted into the Hall in 1992 along with just two other brands: Coca-Cola and Nike.[7] Also in 1992, Freedom Rings were featured in the first gay-specific Absolut Vodka ad, entitled Absolut Spada.[8]

In 1983, Carillon's President/CEO Michel Roux approached the artist Andy Warhol, whom he paid $65,000 to create an advertisement for Absolut.[9][10] Over the years, Carillon commissioned the work of well-known painters, graphic designers, fashion designers, as well as many up-and-coming artists.[10] During the 2017 Corporate Art Awards Ceremony hosted by the President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella at the Quirinal Palace,[11] Absolut received by pptArt a special award "for their long-running collaboration with 550 artists on 850 projects to shape their corporate image and brand".[12] The talents included such names as Damien Hirst, Rosemarie Trockel, Helmut Newton, Javier Mariscal, Maurizio Cattelan, Louise Bourgeois and many, many more.

In 2005, Absolut invited American singer Lenny Kravitz to participate in its promotional campaign. The song "Breathe" was recorded and released.[13][14] The song was remixed many times by various DJs.[15][16]

In 2007, Absolut introduced its new global campaign, "In An Absolut World",[17][18] created by TBWA/Chiat/Day.

In 2008, an advertisement placed in Mexican publications and on Mexican billboards featured a map of the U.S. and Mexico with the boundaries between the two as they were prior to the 1836 Texas Revolution and the Mexican–American War. Media outlets reported on some American consumers' reactions at the advert's perceived insensitivity to immigration issues.[19][20][21] Absolut responded that the adverts were purely whimsical, with no political or nationalist agenda, but its critics were adamant. Absolut later issued a public apology and withdrew the advert.[22]

In 2009, Absolut debuted a campaign with renowned fashion photographer Ellen Von Unwerth[23] and actresses Kate Beckinsale and Zooey Deschanel to celebrate different Absolut drinks.

In 2010 Absolut collaborated with Spike Jonze to create a short film entitled I’m here.[24] The short film was screened at festivals such as Sundance Film Festival and Berlin Film Festival.

In 2012, Absolut partnered with Swedish House Mafia to create an original track and music video to promote Absolut Greyhound cocktail. "Greyhound"–which is the title of the drink, the video, and the actual music track–is a video created by TBWA\Chiat\Day, where three groups of racing enthusiasts converge on the Bonneville Salt Flats to watch robotic greyhounds speed across the plains, holding pink Absolut Greyhounds in their hands.[25][26]

In 2013, Absolut launched the Global 'Transform Today' Campaign by the creative agency, Sid Lee. The creative features four artists. Sid Lee recruited four international emerging artists to inspire younger generations. French artist, director and musician Woodkid, American digital media artist Aaron Koblin, fashion designer Yiqing Yin and Brazilian graphic novel artists Rafael Grampa is featured.[27][28][29]

As part of this platform, Absolut launched the Absolut Creative Competition in 2018 which was an art competition.[30][31] In May 2019 Absolut announced the global winner that was selected by global juries such as Mickalene Thomas, Aaron Cezar and Bose Krishnamachari. Sarah Saroufim from Lebanon was declared the winner from 7,500 entrants with her design.


After pausing its operations in Russia, due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Pernod Ricard resumed the export of Absolut Vodka in April 2023, leading to much criticism in Sweden. As a result, Absolut decided to once again stop its operations in Russia.[32]

Target market[edit]

An Absolut LGBT marketing flyer in Portland, Oregon. The LGBT+ community has historically suffered from higher levels of substance abuse than non-LGBT+ individuals.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The story". Absolutad.com. 17 April 1979. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  2. ^ "Vodka giants experience change of fortune". Thespiritsbusiness.com. 15 June 2018. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  3. ^ The Brännvinskungen story of LO Smith, Pelle Berglund, 2017, The publishing house Business History.
  4. ^ "L.O. Smith – the man on the seal of the Absolut bottles – L.O. Smith". Losmith.se. 11 December 1913. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  5. ^ a b Tungate, Mark (2007). Adland. Philadelphia: Kogan Page, Ltd. pp. 133–134. ISBN 978-0-7494-4837-0.
  6. ^ Absolut Legacy, book
  7. ^ ’Absolut Book. The Absolut Vodka Advertising Story’ by Richard W. Lewis
  8. ^ "Absolut Spada". GLAAD. 25 May 2012. Archived from the original on 6 October 2018. Retrieved 29 December 2019.
  9. ^ Lewis, Richard W. (1996). ABSOLUT BOOK. Boston: Journey Editions. p. 65. ISBN 1-885203-32-2.
  10. ^ a b Sandomir, Richard (10 May 2019). "Michel Roux, Whose Vodka Success Was Absolut, Is Dead at 78". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 13 May 2019.
  11. ^ "Il Presidente Mattarella ha ricevuto i partecipanti al Convegno "Mecenati del XXI secolo"". 22 November 2017.
  12. ^ "Corporate Art Awards – Corporate winners". 22 November 2017.
  13. ^ "Lenny Kravitz – Breathe – hitparade.ch". hitparade.ch. Retrieved 2 July 2021.
  14. ^ "Kravitz scoop backs Absolut Vodka ads". Campaign. 24 January 2006. Retrieved 2 July 2021.
  15. ^ "Song of the Day: Lenny Kravitz "Breathe" (Eric Roberson Remix)". DJ D-Mac & Associates. 31 August 2018. Retrieved 2 July 2021.
  16. ^ "Lenny Kravitz, Absolut Launches Absolut Kravitz, Breathe, Video Stream". contactmusic.com. 18 January 2006. Retrieved 2 July 2021.
  17. ^ "Absolut : In An Absolut World". Ad Age. 2 May 2007. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  18. ^ Lynch, Jason (27 April 2007). "'Absolut World' Debuts – Adweek". Adweek.com. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  19. ^ "Mexico reconquers California? Absolut drinks to that!". Los Angeles Times. 3 April 2008.
  20. ^ "Tuesday Map: Absolut Reconquista". Foreign Policy.
  21. ^ "La reconquista mexicana de Absolut". La Vanguardia. 7 April 2008.
  22. ^ Grillo, Ioan (8 April 2008). "A Vodka Tonic for Mexico's Loss?". Time.
  23. ^ Posted: 2 December 2009 (2 December 2009). "Absolut Print Advert By TBWA: Bloody base | Ads of the World". Adsoftheworld.com. Retrieved 14 March 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  24. ^ Duncan Macleod (24 January 2010). "Absolut I'm Here". The Inspiration Room. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  25. ^ "Absolut's Robo Greyhound-Driven Video Extravaganza". Fastcompany.com. 13 March 2012. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  26. ^ "Absolut Vodka/Swedish House Mafia – Greyhound | This is not Advertising". Thisisnotadvertising.wordpress.com. 23 March 2012. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  27. ^ "Absolut Launches Global 'Transform Today' Campaign 09/16/2013". Mediapost.com. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  28. ^ "Absolut Transform Today — PEET". Pdoubleet.com. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  29. ^ "From Warhol to Koblin & Woodkid: Sid Lee Taps Modern Day Artists for New Absolut Campaign". Ad Age. 9 September 2013. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  30. ^ "Creative spirits: Meet the Absolut Creative Competition judges". 14 December 2018.
  31. ^ "Absolut Vodka – Absolut Creative Competition Winner". Absolut.com. Archived from the original on 11 October 2019. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  32. ^ S.A, Telewizja Polska. "Sweden: Absolut Vodka producer resumes exports to Russia". tvpworld.com. Retrieved 14 April 2023.

External links[edit]