Following the worldwide launch of its Absolut Andy Warhol Art Exchange, we talk to Global Communications Manager Valérie Chhoeu about the iconic vodka imprint’s ambitious drive to reconnect the brand with its artistic roots and how it all came about.
Can you present yourself in a few words? Did you spearhead the initiative?
I’m currently working as Global Communications Manager for Absolut, so I lead the development of global campaigns to support new product launches. I was looking for a big idea to launch the Andy Warhol Edition and after a pitch process, decided to move forward with the Andy Warhol Art Exchange idea, developed by our PR agency JUNG. From that point, my team and I, together with JUNG developed the different pieces of the campaign: from the web pages, to the artist collaborations including press and digital assets to support the launch.
Can you talk to us about the exchange? What was the driving force behind the idea?
We wanted to tell the story of Andy Warhol and Absolut but not just talking about it: we wanted to invite our consumers to take part in it. We got inspired by Andy Warhol’s democratic approach towards art (“Pop art is for everyone”). This is how the Andy Warhol art exchange came to life: it’s about encouraging everyone to evoke their creative spirit, to create an artwork and randomly exchange it with someone, somewhere in the world. It’s about making art accessible, connecting people around art and engaging not only with established artists but everyone.
In terms of technology, it seems to be a rather ambitious undertaking. Can you talk to us about the challenges of setting up such a global initiative?
One challenge was to create online tools, to help people get started. We wanted to provide really playful, fun and easy to use tools to help people create beautiful artworks. We now have four really innovative tools on absolut.com/artexchange, on which we are getting a lot of great feedback.
How’s the platform going so far? Can you reveal some of the artists that have already contributed?
It’s going great so far! The number of submissions is increasing every day, from all around the world. It’s amazing to see this campaign come to life after months of preparation. Some of the artists taking part include Taylor MacKimens, or Simone Bramante (aka brahmino’s on Instagram). We are looking forward to the first exchange end of October!
Can you talk to us about the historic collaboration between Andy Warhol and Absolut? How do the two match?
Andy Warhol was really inspired by Absolut, he created numerous pieces of art inspired by the bottle, from paintings to photographs or drawings. This bottle brings to life a painting of Absolut that he did in 1986. By launching this bottle, in a way, Absolut wanted to make a piece of Andy Warhol’s art accessible to a broader audience. Absolut and Andy Warhol share the ambition of making art accessible. Historically, Absolut has a strong heritage with art and has been landing its bottle as a canvas for a wide range of artists. Today, Absolut is looking into another type of canvas: nightlife. The Nights by Absolut campaign is about transforming elements of nighlife through artistic collaborations. Andy Warhol was famous for throwing ground breaking parties in this Factory, where art and party would blend. This is another common passion.
To take part in the Absolut Andy Warhol Art Exchange, head over here.
Absolut’s Andy Warhol limited edition bottle is available in-stores from mid-October onwards.