Absolut Gives Consumers a Virtual Night Out With EDM Artist Deadmau5

In its VR video game

Headshot of Katie Richards

Absolut is looking to connect with a very specific group of consumers in its latest campaign, and it's not your everyday vodka drinker. Instead, the brand is searching for early adopters of technology who also enjoy good music to experiment with its new virtual reality video game with a special appearance from artist deadmau5.

Absolut's virtual reality game, simply called Absolut deadmau5, fits nicely with the brand's existing "Absolut Nights" campaign, which centers around the idea of spontaneous, adventurous nights out. After downloading the app—which will be available in all major app stores including iOS, Android and Samsung—users start the game in deadmau5's garage helping the artist pick out the best car to get him to his upcoming gig. Players then have to maneuver through different live-action obstacles to ensure deadmau5 gets to his gig on time.  

"[Absolut] wanted to get outside of the normal commercial cycle of our regular advertising and media promotions," Afdhel Aziz, head of Absolut Labs, told Adweek of the brand's latest work. 

The game, which features live-action shots and motion-capture footage, is meant to show fans of both the brand and the artist what a night out with deadmau5 is like. As an avid gamer himself, the artist partnered closely with Absolut on the project, even asking for his Instagram-famous cat, Meowingtons, to be featured in the game.

Absolut wants to use the game as a way to give fans real experiences they might not otherwise have the opportunity to take part in. To accomplish that, the game ends with fans being transported back into a live-action VR scene standing next to deadmau5 in his DJ booth as he performs.

"Every brand needs to start thinking about how to create experiences, whether they are digital experiences or physical experiences that are really either delightful or useful," Aziz said. He argued that with the rise of ad blockers and the shift away from conventional TV to platforms like Hulu and Netflix, "brands need to work harder in order to create moments of engagement."

Along with the game, fans can also purchase their very own limited edition deadmau5 Google Cardboard headsets online for $17.95. Aziz said he hopes the headsets will help Absolut Labs "offset some of the costs" the brand put into making the game. "It turns marketing from a cost center into a profit center," Aziz added.

@ktjrichards katie.richards@adweek.com Katie Richards is a staff writer for Adweek.