An Absolut Success

Food & Drink

An Absolut Success

The year was 1979. One Swedish import was all the rage; another was about to become one.

As ABBA continued to shine, Americans were introduced to Absolut Vodka, which would go on to become the top-selling imported vodka in the United States.

Here’s a look back at how that came to be:

  • The man responsible for Absolut Vodka is Lars Olsson Smith, who in 1879 decided to create a more pure vodka that would undergo more distillation than had previously been done in Sweden.
  • The Swedish government historically has held tight control over country’s liquor market. In 1979, Vin & Spirit Group, a company ultimately owned by the Swedish government, decided to export Absolut Vodka to the United States to increase sales. Two keys in making the brand appealing in the United States included the clear bottle reminiscent of bottles used in Swedish medicine and “absolute” without the “e,” to give a more Swedish tone, according to
  • And perhaps the most important element of Absolut’s U.S. success was its print advertising campaign based on its clear bottle. According to Advertising Age in 2007, “Absolut vodka’s iconic bottle ads were some of the most celebrated, sought-out and effective brand-building efforts in the history of alcohol marketing” – it all started with this one. Absolut print ads focused on many themes: cities, holidays, artists and how the shape of the bottle could occupy space, to name a few. Business Insider showcased the variety of forms that the “Absolut Perfection” campaign took over the years.

Vodka sales in the United States have slumped the past couple of years according to the Wall Street Journal. Absolut, for its part, remains among the top brands in the American market.

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