Absolut ‘The vodka with nothing to hide’ / BBH London
Absolut’s latest campaign, created by BBH London, takes you all the way to Sweden for an employee induction video. Absolut has declared itself ‘the vodka with nothing to hide’, and to prove just how transparent they are about how they process their vodka, 26 of their employees explained how the product is made… without any clothes on.
‘We do things a little different around here’, Gunnar, your tour guide from the distillery in Ahus says as he gradually emerges from behind a haystack. It’s clear from the start that there’ll be at least partial nudity in the ad, but you’re left waiting and wondering just how naked the stars will be as he slowly moves into open view. Maybe he’ll be wearing boxers? … Or some kind of nude illusion bodysuit? … Or – nope, OK, he’s just naked, with just carefully placed pixels to protect his dignity.
There’s nothing uncomfortable or lewd about it. Quite the opposite – the Swedish accents, total lack of embarrassment, and honest, hard-working ethic of the ad’s starring employees make them very endearing. And it’s not often that you see an ad feature naked women without sexualising them. Some thought has clearly gone into how to avoid this: the focus on, frankly, out of shape and not-all-that-attractive men for the majority of the ad, and the completely naked women employees concentrating hard on feedback from a supervisor later on confirms that this spot isn’t meant to tantalise – it’s here to make you laugh.
It’s a change of direction for a brand which has previously opted for slick, stylish campaigns. The last Absolut ad created by BBH, ‘One Night’, was a fast-paced artsy spot exploring the process of creativity. A tiny blue spark explodes into a galaxy of colour, transitioning into planets, stormy skies and rough seas, all within seconds. It’s a high-powered, impressive, artistic ad, but a little more obscure in terms of the connection between its content and the product it’s marketing.
This new campaign seems to be aimed at repositioning the brand as more accessible and down-to-earth – and it’s worked. The elderly naked cleaner who accidentally intrudes on the shot trying (and failing) to duck out of the way of the camera is just one way in which BBH have carefully crafted the ad to make it look as if the employees in Sweden really did put the video together themselves. The transition between the actual transparency of Absolut’s production process and the employees’ rather literal interpretation of having ‘nothing to hide’ is seamless. Leif the pig – who is referred to by name as if were an employee and has his nether regions pixelated as if he too has gone nude for the ad – is also a recipient of Absolut’s excess stillage, which is all used to feed local cows and pigs.
Absolut’s iconic logo paired with the strapline ‘create a better tomorrow, tonight’ rounds off the ad, reminding us that the drinks brand we know and love is still in there. It’s just showing off a slightly different side.