Building an Aspirational High-End Brand through Cultural Engagement: Absolut Vodka's Love Affair with Art

Published 26 Mar 2018
Reference 6375
Topic Marketing
Region Europe
Length 33 page(s)
Language English

The case goes back in time to the ‘golden age’ of Absolut when contemporary artists like Andy Warhol and Keith Haring painted the unusual bottle to the amazement of the global arts community. The nearly accidental collaboration with artists in the glorious years turned the brand into a must-have aspirational drink to be consumed at chic bars and art fairs. Based on the vivid recollections of Vadim Grigorian (INSEAD MBA ‘00J), the case uncovers the awakening of new paradigm, the brand as acultural agent of contemporary art in consumer society. In his retelling of these events, hitherto unknown, the marketing executive recaptures the essence of Absolut during its hey day from the mid-1980s to 2011 in an exquisitely told and unusual account of cultural engagement.

Teaching objectives

The case can be used by instructors teaching specialized courses in marketing and communication, and marketing research. By focusing on the engagement of Absolut with contemporary art and culture, the case prompts discussion of the role of brands as cultural agents. It draws students into a discovery process, tracing the relationship that Absolut, acquired by the global drinks conglomerate Pernod-Ricard in 2008, developed with young artists, fashion photographers, musicians, and even designers of art bars and cocktail recipes. It can start a conversation about the future of cultural engagement strategies that many brands have embarked on, for example, when a brand needs to move on from a wildly successful personality to a more nuanced image that appeals to a broader customer base. The short case is a page-turner that will satisfy a broad range of intellectual interests.

  • Absolut
  • Keith Haring
  • Vadim Grigorian
  • Documenta
  • Venice Biennale
  • Michel Roux
  • spirits
  • Andy Warhol
  • Pernod-Ricard
  • Arts and Culture
  • TBWA
  • Grey Goose
  • Grey Goose
  • bottle
  • Q31718