Swedish vodka has been produced since the 15th century. And in the 17th century, vodka became a national Swedish drink. The first bottle of alcoholic beverage went on sale in 1879.
Then the businessman Lars Olsson Smith introduced a new kind of vodka "Absolut rent Branvin", whose name was translated as "absolute pure vodka". Lars Olsson Smith received the nickname "The King of Vodka" and now his portrait can be found on every bottle of this elite alcoholic beverage.
And Lars was born into a small Swedish family in 1836. The Scandinavian has shown commercial skills since childhood. He began working at the age of eleven, and at the age of fifteen he took over as the chief clerk of a large store. Having quarreled with the owner, Lars quit his job and founded his own company, taking clients along with him. By 18, Smith was controlling the sale of vodka in southern Sweden. By the middle of the 19th century, the young man was already nicknamed "The King of Vodka". The official authorities did not like such a businessman, and they decided to create unacceptable conditions for his company. Lars responded with his own move. He moved shops from Stockholm to the island closest to him and began, with the help of special boats, to take everyone there free of charge to buy his excellent vodka.
By the late 1870s, over 50% of the country's alcohol was produced in the Skane region in southern Sweden. Lars Olsson decided to go all-in again. He took control of several factories, attacking distribution channels with substandard products. Even the trade unions took the side of the king of vodka. They called for a boycott of those outlets that sell cheap and low-quality vodka. All this led to the fact that by the end of the century, Smith was firmly entrenched in the market and even began to supply his 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 only debts and court cases.
Already in the 1970s, someone was found who decided to continue Smith's work. This daredevil was the president of the Swedish Wine and Vodka Corporation Lars Lindmark. In 1979, his state-owned company began producing and exporting high-quality vodka, thus marking the 100th anniversary of the Absolute Rent Branvin product. The firm immediately set the bar high for itself by focusing on the American market. High competition did not frighten the Swedes, but it was there that it was possible to get the maximum profit. Indeed, more than 60% of all vodka produced in the West is consumed in the USA. The dynamics was taken into account that the total consumption of alcohol in America was decreasing, but the consumption of high-quality vodka only grew. In this regard, "Absolut" turned out to be very useful, the drink was positioned on the market as a high-quality drink with long-standing traditions, capable of satisfying even discerning customers.
Initially, the marketing strategy emphasized the Swedish origin of the new vodka. They even wanted to call it "Swedish Blondes Vodka" and depict two Vikings on a bottle. According to another version, the drink was supposed to be called "Vodka of the Tsar's Court", and on it a decanter covered with frost should be depicted. The Swedes even suggested wrapping the bottle in paper to emphasize the status of the drink. However, all these ideas did not give consumers the desired idea about the quality of vodka and its origin. Studies have shown that elite vodka is in demand on the market as opposed to brandy and whiskey. After all, white drinks seem to be 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 window of a pharmacy in Stockholm, saw there a simple, but at the same time elegant and non-standard pharmacy bottle. The designers refined this shape, deciding to abandon the bottle altogether. Thus, the crystal clear contents of the bottle were fully demonstrated. It was decided to make the inscription blue so that it was both noticeable and attractive. No one expected that the updated version of the Swedish pharmacy bottle would soon be recognized as a masterpiece of modern design. The classic shape with clear contours combined with transparent glass created a sense of simplicity and purity.
The company received both a drink and a bottle, the name remained the case. Originally the vodka was called “Absolute Pure Vodka”, that is, “absolutely pure vodka”. But according to 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 discard 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 raised questions from lawyers. And to emphasize the origin of the drink, the phrase Country of Sweden was added to its name.
Such attention to the smallest details and miscalculation of the market situation, together with a stake on the high quality of the drink, could not fail to do their job. By 1982, Absolut vodka had surpassed its competitor, Finlandia, in volume, even though it had entered the US market ten years earlier. In 1985, sales in the United States of "Absolut" overtook the Soviet Capital ("Stoly"), and in fact it was considered by the Swedes to be the closest competitor. As a result, the product became the most popular of its kind imported to America.
The market successes of vodka were fueled by an advertising campaign unprecedented among spirits producers. In 1980, a whole series of "Absolut" commercials was launched, which is still relevant today. Since then, advertising for vodka has always looked the same - a bottle was depicted and below it was a witty inscription, the first word of which was always “Absolut”. The very first ad, Absolut Perfection, is now considered an advertising classic. The image of vodka quickly outgrew the frames of posters, and even a whole ABSOLUTE art appeared. More than 400 artists have already completed orders for the brand. And who said that you can create only on paper?
So, in Kansas, they even sowed a whole field in the form of the famous bottle. The size of this work was twelve football fields, and it was performed by Stan Hurd, who was previously noted for a portrait of van Gogh from a sunflower. Such a large-scale advertisement looks great from the air. And in 1992, a Christmas tree in London's Covent Garden was cut in the shape of the same famous bottle. Designers from Sweden, Switzerland and America are working to popularize 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".
The brand also connects a lot with the world of fashion. In 1987, David Cameron commissioned a Swedish company to make the first collection of clothes named after her. Since then, Absolut has collaborated with many renowned designers, focusing on Gianni Versace. While other manufacturers simply invest in organizing various cultural events to improve their image, then Absolut is an unusual sponsor. The company does not donate money; it enables artists to become famous through the brand. The Swedes place a special emphasis on contemporary art in the style of pop art and outrageous artists. Today the brand is strongly associated with the fine arts among the consumer.
Marketing achievements are expressed in both sales figures and professional recognition. Thus, Absolut is the only foreign brand to be inducted into the American Marketing Association's Hall of Fame. In 1998, the Swedish government sold the glorious alcohol brand to the French Pernod Ricard for $ 9.2 billion.