Amongst the shelves of the liquor store, the Absolut Vodka bottle stands out comparatively from its counterparts. The elegant, sleek bottle, complemented by the clear label creates an aesthetic of prestige and cleanliness. Absolut's timeless and culturally integrated marketing campaign is steeped deeply in Swedish history and is nothing short of brilliant.

The Mastermind

Lars Olsson Smith is the Swedish mastermind behind Absolut's original vision, and the creator of the present-day distillation method called rectification. Smith created a market for premium vodka that did not formerly exist, and subsequently eventually controlled 1/3 of the vodka produced in Sweden in the late 19th century.

Smith wanted his vodka to be as clear and pure as possible, and made sure to distill every batch five times. At the time, clearer alcohol inferred higher quality and a more pure taste. Absolut was first exported in 1979 and quickly joined the ranks for premium vodkas


As a Swedish brand, the visionary team at Absolut aimed to attract American attention. Their target audience at the time were young, motivated, spontaneous minds who were susceptible to emotionally engaging marketing tactics. Experts advised the use of bright-colored labels in order to distract from neighboring brands on the shelves.

The Absolut bottle shape is the most iconic part of the image. The smooth, short bottle was designed to resemble Swedish Medicine bottles from the 16th-17th century. At the time, vodka had been prescribed in order to cure everything from colic to the plague (imagine giving your crying infant vodka...). Customers now recognize and associate the shape with a specific brand. 

Absolut and Andy Warhol

Absolut "strives to be a global player while keeping alive an aura of artistic daring." Over the years, they have done so by collaborating with famous artists, musicians, and cultural icons such as Andy Warhol, Gianni Versace, Manolo Blahnik, Annie Liebowitz, and David Bowie.

Absolut emphasizes their connection to the arts community by endorsing musical festivals such as Coachella in Palm Springs, and seasonal art galleries like Art Basel in Miami. 

In 1986, Andy Warhol created artwork to advertise for Absolut. More recently, in 2013, Absolut introduced an Andy Warhol edition bottle. The "Warhol Spirit"  touched on art and nightlife, whereas the "Warhol Art Exchange" encouraged consumers to play into their own creative side.

Timeless Technique

Absolut has utilized the same marketing strategy for 22 years, and the end does not seem near in the slightest. Then again, don't fix something if it ain't broke, right? 1,500 advertisements have been featured, or made a reference to the distinct short bottle and the clear label. 

Anna Kamjou, Absolut's global design director described that "a huge company can romance its audience with design and [that] Absolut strives to be a global player while keeping alive an aura of artistic daring."