Absolut Authenticity

Absolut Authenticity

This blog forms part of our wider Brands Driving Positive Change blog series, we’ll be uploading a new post every week so keep checking back for the latest thoughts on what it means to be a force for good…


Whether it be the latest para sporting event, Pride or International Women’s Day, brands love the opportunity to display their diversity and inclusivity credentials, but so often as soon as the cultural moment passes, it is back to business as usual. The alcohol industry is full to the brim with brands making a statement about LGBTQ rights; Smirnoff and its controversial five-storey mural depicting a lesbian couple kissing in Belfast, where same sex marriage is still illegal. The Heineken ad that tackled people with opposing socio-political views, highlighting how the topic could be sensitively addressed, in a post-Pepsi ad world.

Absolut, however, is different. For them, LGBTQ is not a recent marketing bandwagon that they have jumped on, but a sincere and integral part of their history and how they work. We heard Adam Boita, Head of Marketing at Pernod Ricard UK, speak at Unbound London of Absolut’s proud history of supporting the LGBTQ community and this has been distilled into their new campaign ‘Create a better tomorrow tonight’. The campaign has been launched alongside a film called ‘Equal Love’, a sweeping, cinematic thing of beauty, which shows a kiss being passed between people of different ages, races and genders. The film goes beyond ‘promoting’ understanding of the LGBTQ community, but in its essence is about giving people of all ages, races, sexualities and genders, the freedom to live the fleeting moments of life how they choose.

This returns to the spirit of Absolut and the progressive values instilled in the brand by its founder, Lars Olsson Smith, in 1879. In 1981, Absolut was the first brand to buy ads in LGBT magazines, before it was cool to do so. Since then they have collaborated with LGBTQ artists, fashion designers and activists to produce limited edition bottles. This ethos is part of the company culture as well, half of the leadership team are women and it is headed by female CEO, Anna Malmhake. Absolut have always had the inclusivity credentials, but has returned to the brand’s story to express them in a powerful and authentic way that stands above the rest. With powerful brands such as Absolut behind them, our glass is half full over the future of LGBTQ rights.

Key learning: Does the world know your brand’s story? And can this be used to authentically drive change?

Isobel McVey Isobel McVey