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Absolut Vodka Appoints Ogilvy

On Friday, Pernod Ricard’s vodka brand Absolut appointed Ogilvy as its global creative agency of record. 

Ogilvy will be tasked with global strategic and creative duties for the brand, with a focus on Absolut’s lead market priorities and growing and accelerating its brand leadership position. 

The decision follows a competitive pitch conducted by Observatory International. Finalists in the process included Goodby Silverstein & Partners and Wieden+Kennedy, according to a source with knowledge of the account. GS&P and W+K have yet to respond to requests for comment. Absolut formerly worked with BBH on creative advertising. It is unclear if the incumbent participated in the review process.

‘The right partner’

In a statement, Absolut’s global marketing lead Charl Bassil said the company was “delighted” to announce the appointment, explaining it reflected Absolut’s intent to move toward more coordination and integration across its global markets while continuing to utilize locally relevant insights. 

“We fundamentally believe that agency partnerships are more effective than transactional supplier relationships. We know that through [a] genuine partnership, we are able to build open, transparent relationships that include a shared view of success and shared accountability,” he added. 

“Ultimately, Absolut has been built on the idea that we can create better together. With that in mind, we believe we have found the right partner in Ogilvy.”

The appointment ends Absolut’s relationship with BBH, which had served as the brand’s lead global creative agency since 2016. BBH confirmed that the agency declined to participate in the review process. 

“The Absolut team have undergone an organizational change that led them to put the business up for pitch to service their new structure. We declined to participate,” BBH CMO Adam Arnold said in a statement. “We wish the team and Ogilvy all the very best – Absolut is a brand we will always love dearly.”

Absolut spent around $768k on tracked media

The selection comes on the heels of Absolut parent company Pernod Ricard appointing Ogilvy as lead U.S. creative agency for its tequila and mezcal brands earlier this month. 

Creative advertising has long played an important role for Absolut, whose campaigns have included partnerships with fashion designers and artists such as Tom Ford, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Keith Haring, Anne Imhof, Stella McCartney and Andy Warhol. Absolut’s recent advertising efforts have included a “#VoteResponsibly” campaign in the run-up to the last presidential election and a striking animated ad from BBH Singapore imagining the joys of post-pandemic reunions

“Ogilvy is proud to be chosen by Absolut, a globally iconic brand, to be their creative partner for growth. We admire Absolut’s strong heritage of using creativity to drive meaningful connections and influence culture,” Ogilvy global CEO Andy Main said in a statement. “Our team is excited to use the borderless creativity of Ogilvy’s global network to deliver the innovative work that will win the attention of people around the world.”

“Absolut has an incredible legacy of creating extraordinary and unexpected communications, of being a cultural provocateur,” added Absolut CCO Tad Greenough. “As the brand continues to see tremendous momentum globally, we wanted a network partner that can deliver the strategic and creative excellence that Ogilvy has demonstrated time and time again.”

Absolut spent around $768,000 on tracked media in the U.S. last year, down from $2.2 million in 2019, according to data consultancy COMvergence. It’s unclear how much the brand spends globally.

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