Absolut Taps Consumer Content ‘Mega-Trend’

NEW YORK Absolut Vodka became the latest brand to dive into the user-generated content craze, starting a campaign that solicits video, photos and audio clips from consumers.

Over the next two months, “The 100 Absolutes” campaign on Absolut.com is asking users to nominate their favorites in 100 categories ranging from fashion to jokes to metal band. Their nominations can come in the form of text, photo, video or audio files.

The campaign is part of a shift the vodka brand is making to transfer its well-known and received print advertising into a user-controlled online space, according to Patric Blixt, director of new media for V&S Absolut Spirits.

“For us, it’s about being open to engage our consumers in a dialog more than just having iconic advertising,” he said.

Earlier this year, Absolut started a drink-mixing site, AbsolutDrinks.com, which solicits recipes from users. Since its launch in January, its drink concoctions have been viewed 1 million times, according to Magnus Walsten, account director for GreatWorks, Absolut’s interactive agency in Stockholm, Sweden. It will soon add a mobile component, he said.

For “The 100 Absolutes,” the brand is taking a page out of the books of YouTube, IMDB and other consumer-generated Web sites, which represent what Blixt calls the “mega-trend” of user participation and expression.

Absolut will collect nominations for “The Absolutes” through October, when it will narrow the list down to two or three per category and put it up for a vote. The campaign will run through the end of the year.

“People don’t just want to hear what Absolut has to say, they want to know what other people think,” said Walsten.

To publicize the effort, Absolute is following another online mega-trend: so-called “long-tail” niche sites. It will target sites with advertising and publicity come-ons that fit categories, e.g., it will solicit ideas for “The Absolute Joke” from comedy sites and “The Absolute Sneaker” from sneaker-fanatic destinations.

The spirits maker is the latest advertiser to try its hand at soliciting consumer-generated content on its Web site. Coca-Cola redesigned its flagship site as an outlet for consumer creativity, running monthly “challenges” for users to submit video, photos and other multimedia content. Anheuser-Busch has plans for a section of its Bud.TV branded entertainment site to be devoted to user-created video of Bud advertising.