ABSOLUT VODKA is widely recognised as one of the first consumer brands to embrace the lesbian and gay rights movements, with their support of the GALAs 2015 this weekend, we take a look back at their ties with the LGBT community, which go as far back as the 80s
ABSOLUT VODKA holds the title for earliest major advertiser in gay media with ads dating back to 1981. By incorporating LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) images in national ads, as well as directly targeting the community by placing ABSOLUT ads in LGBT magazines, the company remains one of the most consistent marketers to gays and lesbians.
The brand has consequently been the recipient of awards from GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) and by Commercial Closet Association for excellence in the portrayal LGBT individuals and issues in their advertising
ABSOLUT has also pushed the boundaries of its packaging designs to further demonstrate the brand’s commitment to the LGBT community. In 2008, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Rainbow Flag ABSOLUT launched a limited edition bottle entitled ABSOLUT COLORS which was designed by Gilbert Baker, the creator of the rainbow flag. In 1978, Gilbert Baker of San Francisco designed and made a flag with stripes representing the six colours of the rainbow as a symbol of Gay & Lesbian community pride.
“There are few brands that can honestly say they have helped to make a difference”, says Gilbert Baker, creator of the rainbow flag. “In my mind, and with my perspective, ABSOLUT can definitely take pride in being one of those few who’ve supported Lesbian & Gay rights in times when it was needed”.
As a result of the pioneering and bold activities of the ABSOLUT company, oftentimes in the face of criticism and commercial risk, the brand has over the years established a loyal band of brand advocates. From Andy Warhol to Tom Ford, many high profile LGBT celebrities have actively championed the brand.
Probably the most striking advertising effort ever from ABSOLUT, was their outdoor billboard, entitled “ABSOLUT OUT”, in San Francisco’s Castro neighbourhood in June of 2003 during National Gay History month. This outdoor advertisement featured a three-dimensional series of nine “gay closets”. Through live and online auctions associated with the ads, consumers were provided with the opportunity to purchase pieces of gay history. Items were donated from the closets of celebrities including Madonna, k.d. lang and Ellen DeGeneres, with all proceeds benefiting HRC Foundation’s “National Coming Out Project.
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