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Absolut Vodka

Solution Id Length Case Author Case Publisher
2770 2378 Words (9 Pages) Paul W. Farris, Elizabeth Collins Darden School of Business : UVA-M-0366
This solution includes: A Word File A Word File

The case highlights and details the history of Absolut Vodka in the super-premium category of the vodka market. The case highlights different marketing tactics and strategies that the brand employed for superior brand-building and development purposes. This included developing top-of-the-line positioning, along with creative advertising to support the same. The brand also made use of narrow distribution and point-of-sale advertising to emphasize its premium image. The advertising material used by the brand, including inserts for print advertisements, was also expensive to maintain the luxury image of the brand. The case focuses on discussing and deicing if the brand should continue to use expensive advertisement tactics and means, and if it decides to do so, how it should maintain it. The case further presents an opportunity for students to discuss the implications and expensive positioning strategy can have on the brand, as well as the social implication of advertising and promoting alcoholic beverages.

Following questions are answered in this case study solution:

  1. How much of Absolut’s success was due to market trends favoring Absolut, and how much to Roux’s marketing acumen?

  2. How do you explain the success of Absolut’s campaign in terms of attitudes and consumer behavior? Explain the “big idea” behind the Absolut campaign.

  3. How can Absolut justify such expensive advertising production?

  4. What are some examples of the Christmas specials that might be considered for next year? What are some criteria that might be used to screen these ads?

  5. What do you think of the “gift delivery” tag line on the advertisements?

  6. Is Absolut’s positioning changing? If so, how will this be reflected in the advertising messages and media selection?

  7. What are the broad social and economic implications of Absolut’s campaign and positioning?

Case Study Questions Answers

1. How much of Absolut’s success been due to market trends favoring Absolut, and how much to Roux’s marketing acumen?

Absolut vodka has been fairly successful in the super-premium market segment of the vodka market. The company has enjoyed a unique position and image as a luxury product and a status symbol. However, this success and image development has been attributed to the evolving market trends that helped the company boost its sales and positioning. Absolut's success can be attributed to the market trends that favored the promotion of the company and helped it grow. These trends included a movement towards lower calories and lower alcohol content or higher premiums. Another trend included the growth of imported vodka based on consumer preference – leading to an increase in imported vodka swell. Another trend included the introduction of different flavors in vodka, including, for example, the pepper flavor. More importantly, with the boycott of vodka from Russia, Absolut had an opportunity to experience high growth and sales within the market. 

However, the brand was able to gain the advantage of the market environment and trends because of Roux's marketing acumen. Roux was able to identify the changing and important elements and factors in the marketing and business environment and chalk out a marketing plan in favor of Absolut accordingly. This helped the brand gain higher traction and built a luxury image. Roux's focus on the positioning and identification of the target market for Absolut and his relentless efforts to maintain and achieve the same helped the company achieve a luxury status and symbol. Moreover, these trends and marketing environment factors that helped the brand grow were taken advantage of through promotions, and the company used savvy and focused advertising and positioning and promotions on being able to communicate and connect with the consumers to help the company increase sales and help grow as well. In addition, Roux's focus on developing team creativity through new experiences, which helped the company develop new marketing communications and strategies to benefit from the changing environmental factors, also highlights the importance of Roux's marketing acumen.

2. How do you explain the success of Absolut’s campaign in terms of attitudes and consumer behavior? Explain the “big idea” behind the Absolut campaign.

The big idea behind the campaign run by Absolut Vodka included a focus on the integration of art, fashion and music within the brand's communications and making it a part of the brand's personality and values as well. This was based on the market and consumer research that was undertaken by the brand and where the entire brand's messages and communications were directed by it. Through this integration, the brand was able to directly relate with its target audience – their leisure seekers who had enough disposable income to splurge on premium vodka and who enjoyed the finer things in life. The campaign, unlike others at the time, was focused on market research and consumer insights. This helped the band develop roe emphasized and focused marketing campaign and advertisement – increasing appeal and effectiveness at the same time.

The success of the company and the brand through this campaign has been commendable. The brand enjoyed higher sales and revenues as a result of the campaign, which showcases its success. However, the broader and longer-lasting success was seen through the change in consumers' attitudes and behavior towards Absolut Vodka. Seen as a vodka brand with Swedish origins, the brand quickly evolved into a promising luxury item and conveyed the same through its luxurious and expensive advertising products as well. The brand experienced positive consumer attitudes related to its advertising and saw an increase in brand recall and awareness as well. This highlighted the success of the company in terms of consumer attitudes which saw Absolut vodka as a pricey, luxurious brand that helped them fulfill not only their beverage needs but also the status quo. It also acted as an ego fulfillment for the consumers.

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