Archive for October, 2008

Absolut Masquerade

This week Absolut Masquerade comes to London. The sequinned red jacketed bottle is the latest in the series of themed limited edition collectors bottles.

 

The bottle is currently available as a gift pack in over 76 markets and comes out just in time for the halloween holiday season. To promote this latest offering, which follows on from models such as Absolut Disco and Absolut Bling Bling, the UK market has created House of the Masquerade – a literal place where the sentiment behind the bottle can be brought to life.

 

 The venue is on Shoreditch’s Redchurch St, and will be open for 5 nights from 23rd October as what Absolut describe as a ‘fabulous fashion wonderland’. The place will be stocked with an array of vintage clothes from MINT (a vintage clothing boutique) and has been co-created with UK illustrator and fashionista Daisy de Villeneuve.

 

Daisy  – famed for her illustrations for the likes of Top Shop, Moet, Habitiat & Heal’s and a genuine love of vintage clothes; has decorated the venue in her iconic felt tip hand drawn style images, as well as the furniture (see above – chest of drawers) to create a ‘make believe’ or ‘alice in wonderland’ feel to the place. Members of the public will be able to come down and play dress up, as well as having a stylist in situ to help create a look.

 

Lets not forget most importantly there will also be a bar in the venue! So you can sip a saucy cocktail whilst perfecting your sequinned show stopping shimmy! Some of Daisy’s work (journals with limited edition designs) will also be on sale with proceeds going to the Terrance Higgins Trust.

Whilst pop up locations in east london (yawn) are not new in any way shape or form; I am still a fan of the work from Absolut as a brand. I think this latest launch platform for the Masquerade pack and bottle is sound from a marketing perspective for the following reasons:

1) Their choice of talent is on brand and genuinely connected to the message. These days you need a celeb of sorts or ‘professional’ to bring the edge and authenticity to any themed activity; in this instance vintage fashion. Often it is hard to get the right fit or the person you want on budget and in time or alternatively you are forced into using the current tabloid darling simply to ensure column inches. But Daisy de Villeneuve is spot on, she combines edgy artist which is very on brand for absolut with a genuine love of vintage fashion: read the compelling article in Selvedge magazine over 4 pages all about vintage clothing which Daisy beautifully illustrated below:

 

 

 

 

2) Events have to be memorable with an alcohol brand. Whilst there is often general opinion ‘cool’ parties can be a big waste of money for brands, this is not the case in the alcohol industry. Trial is a key component for them in terms of consumer future purchase, loyalty and repeat custom. Essentially think about it like this: you drink the tipple you like, you get settled into a routine – be it Jack and Coke, vodka tonic, or asking specifically for a Mount Gay Rum at sunset. The alcohol industry is all about getting people to change those habits, to try something new and then stick to that new choice. Statistically if people try something new at a time when they are happy and somewhere out of the ordinary they are more likely to remember it. When it comes to experiential work per se memorability is key to talkability. If you find something unusual you will talk about it and remember it. That is what Absolut have done here, odd and contrived as it may seem to put the justaposition of fashion dressing up box and bar together, it serves this purpose neatly whilst also being an occurance with enough hooks to give the press something to write about.

 

 

 

3) The entire concept of limited edition anything that looks nice so people want to collect it and repeatedly buy when the next version comes out is basically a license to print money, which in this climate is frankly genius. Whilst again designer link ups can seem a tad repetitious and ubiquitous, I still like them with Absolut. The bottle looks fab and I would quite want a collection of them on display somewhere in my kitchen or even ‘home bar’ if I had such a thing.. and would happily pay a premium for that…maybe that makes me a ponce or just someone who likes things that look nice; but I think other people would too.  And they do –  Also they have cleverly created an affordable party gift. Instead of just taking booze along to a house party and no birthday present, with the gift pack phenonomen you can kill two birds with one stone. Take a nice looking fun present along which also serves to liven up the party, break ice while everyone plays with the bits and tries to make cocktails. Bingo, one room full of cool people in shoredtich, some vodka in sequins: I make that Absolut O’clock!

House of the Masquerade Maverick Showroom runs from Friday, 24th October to Monday, 27th October at Oct 24-27, 6pm-11pm

We won!! (best brand experiential campaign Gramia Awards 2008)

Last night I went to the Gramia Awards (Grocer Advertising & Marketing Industry Awards) as Slice had won a Gramia in the category Brand Experience for our Beck’s Fusions Campaign last september. We really didn’t know if we would then go on and win the ‘diamond’ gramia for that category, making us overall best campaign in that section, rather than just one of 4 recommended. We did! We won! Whoop Whoop! We were in a bit of shock actually as these things hilariously follow the format of a less glamorous ‘grammy’s’ with loud pumping music and lights flashing as you approach the stage and everyone runs around taking photos of you. Our category was the first up and suddenly Toby Antiss shouted out Beck’s (In) Fusions wins…(bless him) and Jason Gallucci (Managing Director of Slice) and I went up to grab our trophy and grin for the camera.

Beck’s Fusions in a nutshell was (even if I say so myself) an example of a really cohesive integrated campaign. Beck’s had always historically been associated with art and their Beck’s Futures work. We extended that to be art and music: Beck’s Fusions. We worked with Woo (part of Engine) to make the campaign work across on pack promotion, outdoor and print creatives, PR, online and of course our main experience.

Slice approached the ICA to link with Beck’s in creating a series of unique events across the UK which united leading musical and artistic talent to create original and inspiring performance and multi-media art installations.

Beck’s Fusions 2007  took place live in a specially designed interactive exhibition and performance ‘pod’ that  travelled to four key locations across the UK and Ireland during September 2007. The London Launch includes a unique fusion performance from the Chemical Brothers and United Visual Artists (UVA), supported by Calvin Harris and Novak 3D Disco.

What worked so well about this was that the only way you could get to the shows was by entering a URN from a bottle of Beck’s with on pack promotion on it, into the website. You then entered a ballot system with a fixed amount of tickets being released each day. We had 120K applicants for a 10K show. The other clever part was making a desirable experience (which raised awareness of the brand and increased sales and was trackable) also newsworthy. By holding a concert in Trafalgar Square you bring an element of unusual. If you analyse what makes the media from a PR perspective where you are trying to generate the news, there are some standard common sense givens…
– man bites dog (turning the expected on its head)
– celebrity
– celebrity as you have never seen them before (exclusive)
– anything that is a first..never been done before
– nudity (yawn)
– something happening somewhere you wouldnt expect – a rave in st.pauls catherdral for instance?
So we held a concert in Trafalgar Square (something whilst not never, not often done before) and added in the idea of the worlds first ever 3D disco..( a first) because some of the artists collaborating with the musicians were going to do light projections only viewed through 3D glasses. By making a mock up of what this would/could look like we gave collateral of never seen before london landmark to the national press hitting all the picture desks and bingo getting blanket coverage the week before.
Trafalgar Square as a venue has restrictions too, not any old brand can rock up and pay to use it as a setting for an event. Those restrictions work with the council that events must be free to the people and cultural and even then there are only a handful passed through a year. By linking with the ICA and making the event FREE but with purchase of beer we circumnavigated getting this coveted landmark as our hub. Anyway we must have done something right! We won……