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For the first time, Absolut launched an India-first campaign featuring stories on discrimination

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Since 1995, when a blanket ban was imposed on the promotion of alcohol products in traditional media, liquor brands have changed their priority from marketing the brand to building an engagement with the consumer. Absolut, a vodka product from Pernod Ricard, is a champion of causevertising, it aligned itself with the LGBTQ+ community in the West in the 1980’s. 

The brand recently launched a campaign titled ‘Born Colourless’ promoting belief in global unity while staying true to the motto ‘creativity is the millennial weapon for change’. The campaign highlights biases that exist in the world across nationalities and ethnicities. Through this campaign, the brand aims to start conversations about shattering biases in a highly polarised world.

This is the first time that Absolut has launched a India-first campaign. ‘Born Colourless’ is slated to go live in over 15 countries this year.

“We live in a world which is deeply coloured with opinions on ethnicity, race, skin colour, religion and political ideologies, breeding disharmony. Absolut dreams of a happy and colourful world, however, for that to become a reality, people across the board will have to ‘uncolour’,” said Kartik Mohindra, chief marketing officer, Pernod Ricard India.

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While Absolut has used TV and print medium to expand its reach, this year the vodka brand is replacing digital with print. According to Mohindra, the youth of today are more vocal, hence, the campaign is focused towards taking their need for equality forward by putting it on a pedestal. “Since, youth are more present on digital, the platform presented itself as a better option for the reach of the campaign,” Mohindra added

As per Mohindra, at present, 75% of the ad spend is diverted towards above-the-line (ATL) media and the remaining goes to below-the-line (BTL) mediums. Of this TV commercial and digital, constitutes 70% of the share with print and out-of-house (OOH) getting the rest. He further added that the ad spend towards OOH is limited, as the platform itself is limited in the country.

It should be noted that the brand launched the first phase of the campaign with the ICC World Cup to attract more viewership. Though the first burst was focused on TV and digital, the second and third phase will include all platforms. As per Mohindra, the next two phases will be launched between September-October and December-January.

As for BTL, Absolut has partnered with music festivals, and will also be sponsoring the launch of the book titled Colour Matters? by Anuranjita Kumar. Kumar is currently serving as managing director, human resources, International hubs at The Royal Bank of Scotland.

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Making of a ‘colourless brand’

The campaign shows real people and their stories along with featuring 31 Pernod Ricard employees from all over the world. From refugees who walked all the way to Bulgaria to find asylum to people who have faced discrimination due to their skin color/sexual preferences, the brand is aimed at bringing forth all kinds of biases.

Directed by Pedro Becker, the ad film was shot in two places – Sofia, Bulgaria and Red Fort, Delhi, India by three-time Academy Awards winner Robert Richardson.

For instance, Delbrim, a Syrian refugee, travelled to six European countries over the past couple of years, to seek asylum is a part of this campaign.

Similarly, Sony Thokchom, who belongs to Imphal, Manipur, faced dicrimination and bias for his looks. His reason for being a part of the campaign was to encourage people to embrace their roots, and be proud of their diversity. 

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