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What Is the Foundation of Absolut Vodka's Success? Is It the Vodka, the Bottle, the Distribution or the Promotion?

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1) What is the foundation of Absolut Vodka's success? Is it the vodka, the bottle, the distribution or the promotion?

When the history of "Absolut Vodka" is carefully studied, it is clear that foundation of its extraordinary success was mainly laid on Lars Olsson Smith, the man who introduced it. Mr. Smith, who was called the king of Vodka, was a successful business man in Sweden at the age of 10 and an entrepreneur at age 14. In the 1879 he introduced a new kind of vodka called "Absolut Rent Bränvin" (Absolute Pure Vodka). At the end of the century he captured not only the local market, but the international market as well and became one of the richest men in Sweden. But, unfortunately when he died in 1913 he was penniless and had nothing but debts and angry letters. (About Absolute, 1997)

In 1970, when President of Vin & Spirit AB (The Sweden Wine and Spirits Corporation) found the landmark of Lars Olsson Smith, it was realised that Smith has left not only the ruins of his unfortunate ending but most valuable "Absolut Vodka Concept". This worthy successor understood the importance of distilling techniques used by Smith, which is called "Rectification Method" and this 100 years old method is the modern distilling techniques to produce the finest vodka. Hence, the product is definitely one of the reasons for the success of Absolut.

(About Absolut find what you are looking for, n.d)

But, we cannot come to a conclusion that product is the only reason for Absolute Vodka's success. The bottle was chosen by Gunnar Broman who saw some eighteenth century medicine bottles at a Stockholm antique shop which was quite different from that of their competitors. The breakthrough came when a bottle was finally chosen. Like many important new discoveries this has become purely by chance, that it seems almost too noticeable. They did not use a label because they want to show how clear and pure the Vodka is. This is to address the USA trend in late 1970's.

Instead of a label which distracts the pure crystal clear look of the bottle, blue colour lettering is used for the logo as blue is the most visible and attractive colour. Various researches have proved that this unique bottle is also a major reason behind the success of Absolut.

(Bains, 2011)

The challenge of marketing this product in USA was accepted by Carillon Importers Limited, with only one salesman, Michel Roux, who played a major role, finally became a driving force behind the success of the product. Advertising of Absolut vodka is centred around the product and the bottle and no any life style is embedded (About Absolut find what you are looking for, n.d). This great product packed in a unique bottle is promoted in such a way that it has become the 3rd Premium spirit by volume.

(Bains, 2011)

Combination of Fine Swedish Vodka, an ingenious design of bottle, creative & unconventional marketing and V&S's distribution partnership has made Absolut a huge success. But it could be argued that ingenious design of bottle and unconventional marketing had more say in the success, and then V&S's distribution partnership .

(Kotler et al., 2008).

2) How does Absolut's market build upon American trends in the late 1980s and 1990s? Is Absolut a fashion product that will decline with trends?

In late 1970's consultants have surveyed US spirits market and found that there is customer trend towards "White Spirits" as opposed to "Brown Spirits", because it was believed that the white spirits are purer and healthier. (Bains, 2011).

In order to make use of this trend, Vin & Sprit in Stockholm decided to export vodka in to US In 1979 and named it as Absolut vodka. They did not have enough marketing and product design experience consequently they hired outside marketing experts Where Mr. Gunnar Broman who designed the vodka bottle based on the Swedish medical bottles during the early 18thcenturies.

(Kotler et al., 2008)

After that Absolut's Team presented the idea to New York agency most of the officials doubted the sale of Sweden vodka in American market and after several meetings they came in to an agreement to distribute vodka in us.

After that Carillon Imports Ltd with only one sales man named Michel Roux took over the challenge to sell Absolut vodka to us market.The first order was for 700 cases and the destination for the first shipment of vodka was Boston. This was the beginning of the success story

press.absolut.com 2004).

After that in 1980 Absolut created an advertising campaign with TBWA another New York agency with a photographer, Steven Bronstein with more than 1500 advertisements. The shape of the bottle was the focus of this campaign. So the first advertisement was named as Absolute perfection which was advertised in 1980 (Eric, 2007).

By 1982, Absolut Vodka had passed a major Finnish competitor that had entered the US market ten years earlier! In 1985, the biggest Russian competitor was overtaken, making Absolut Vodka the leading imported vodka in the US

(Absolutad.com n.d)

In 1993, the New York American Marketing Association established the Marketing Hall of Fame to recognize brands that have established themselves as true icons by achieving lasting sustained success in the marketplace and that have contributed to the marketing discipline through their pioneering practices. So Absolut vodka is one of the brands main three brands welcomed by American Advertising Hall of fame(trendhunter.com, n.d).

Moreover Absolut vodka stepped in to the world of fashion in 1987 via a photographer Steve Bronstein who shot model Rachel Williams and as a reward he was given Absolut Vodka, from that Absolut vodka has been involved in fashion world

(Absolutad.com, n.d).

The key element in Absolut vodka's market mix is their heavy promotions where Absolut is continuously looking new ways to market its product such as painting the bottle with rainbows, wrapping it in leather etc. and Absolut vodka is a master of putting out entertaining commercials (trendhunter.com, n.d).

In 1991 Absolut began an art commissioning program to select artists from all 50 states in the U.S. Also in 2009 Absolut sponsors Fabiani's Winter Collection launch held at Joburg Fashion Week which leads way to connect creative minds to absolut's brand (bookrags.com,



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