Saturday, April 28, 2007

Absolut truth? Ads say so

On Planet Absolut, the Curse of the Billy Goat is lifted and the Chicago Cubs win the World Series ... well, at least play in the World Series.Not only that, but politicians are identified by the length of their noses and men get pregnant.In New York, images of fine art replace the ads that dominate the electronic billboards surrounding Times Square.Such are the intimations of a $33 million to $35 million advertising campaign soon to be unveiled by Swedish vodkamaker Absolut, the premium vodka that dominates the world market but is losing market share in the U.S."Our consumers are intelligent and we hope they have a gut reaction that sparks conversations and challenges them to think about their vision of an 'Absolut' world," said Tim Murphy, senior brand director of New York-based Absolut Spirits Co.The billboard ads should jar some discussions in Chicago between Cubs and White Sox fans over the meaning of a Billy Goat sitting in a stadium's empty stands.Cubs fans will be able to say the goat is seated in Wrigley Field awaiting the start of this fall's Series. Cubs haters, however, could just as easily propose that in an Absolut World the curse lives on because of the empty seats.The Goat part of the campaign will debut on a billboard across from Wrigley Field on July 1 and will be joined by hundreds of billboards around Chicago and suburbs -- "except the South Side.""That's Sox country," said Jeremy Miller, a spokesman for the ad agency TBWA/Chiat/Day/New York, which developed the campaign. (The ad agency apparently understands that you don't put a Cubs billboard south of Roosevelt Road.)'Seeing with fresh eyes'Rob Smiley, the agency's creative director, said the campaign is "not necessarily about perfection, but about making the world better by seeing it with fresh eyes."Most of the outdoor advertising is tailored to local markets. The Billy Goat billboard only appears in Chicago, for example.Absolut's global campaign kicks off May 15 with a television commercial depicting a "pillow fight" battle between protesters and police on a street in Uruguay. It is to be rolled out in 12 international markets, including Germany, where it will debut on Friday.In addition to New York and Chicago, localized versions of the Absolut campaign will appear in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami and Las Vegas.


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