How Absolut activates brand purpose


Absolut, the vodka brand, has demonstrated how brand purpose can be activated successively in different contexts with campaigns based on the notion of acting “responsibly”.

Pam Forbus, CMO for North America at Pernod Ricard, which owns Absolut, discussed how the spirits firm has leveraged brand purpose at the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) 2020 Masters of Marketing Week.

She noted that Absolut had run a campaign for Valentine’s Day 2020 that was premised on the idea of “Sex Responsibly” and highlighted the issue of consent.

“It was the first of a series of Absolut campaigns to tackle many aspects of responsibility and how they intersect with the most important cultural issues of the day,” said Forbus. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: How Pernod Ricard has responded to social disruption with purpose.)

As the 2020 elections loomed into view earlier this year, Absolut similarly emphasised the importance of voting, but without getting bogged down in partisan politics.

The executions in its “Vote Responsibly” program incorporated the brand’s first US TV commercial in three years, as well as out-of-home, digital, and social messaging about making voting a priority.

And the precise messages included, “Your Vote Can Shake or Stir the Election”, “Save Your Drink for After the Vote”, and “Drinking Can Wait. Your Vote Can’t”.

“We believed in getting more Americans, of all political backgrounds, to vote,” said Forbus. “With that in mind, Absolut had a number of different instigations, right up until November 3, just to get out the vote.”

Pernod Ricard has even adopted a similar position with an “Engage Responsibly” program that aims to bring transformation to the marketing industry.

Endorsed by the ANA and the Global Alliance for Responsible Media – an ANA/World Federation of Advertisers coalition designed to eliminate harmful online content – this initiative has a clear mission.

More specifically, its objective is “bringing together consumers, brands, and platforms to provide tangible, technology-driven tools and resources that support advertisers as they work to stop the spread of online hate”.

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