In the Scene

Bottled Support

In 2008, ABSOLUT VODKA released a limited edition package highlighting the rainbow flag – it was, supposedly, a “dedicated initiative” to promote LGBT rights. The company now remains one of the biggest businesses openly supporting – and courting – LGBTs.

The ‘pinking’ of ABSOLUT VODKA

In 2008, ABSOLUT VODKA released a limited edition package highlighting the rainbow flag – it was, supposedly, more than a consumer brand’s attempt to tap the LGBT market, but was an effort to join the celebrations of the then 30th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn riots, largely accepted as the beginnings of the modern LGBT liberation movement, with a “dedicated initiative”. This dedicated initiative, which came to be known as ABSOLUT COLORS, had: 1) A package inspired by the rainbow flag, 2) Had text on the bottle that carried a message on embracing diversity, and 3) Came with ABSOLUT COLORS Cocktail Collection (a guide to colorful drinks based on the six colors of the rainbow flag).

“ABSOLUT COLORS builds on our history as a brand that has always encouraged people to be who they are”, Nina Gillsvik, international brand director of ABSOLUT at V&S Absolut Spirits, was quoted as saying then. “Almost 30 years ago, when our company decided to do our bit in supporting the rights of the individual, we were considered bold. Today we can look back on those days and that decision with pride. For us, ABSOLUT COLORS is a natural way to continue to inspire people to let their true colors shine and be proud of who they are.”

The effort was in many ways seen as groundbreaking, so much so that Gilbert Baker (who, in 1978, designed in San Francisco a flag with six stripes representing the six colors of the rainbow as a symbol of LGBT community pride – the colors purple, blue, green, yellow, orange and red, by the way, stand for spirit, serenity, nature, sunlight, healing and life), actually backed it. “There are few brands that can honestly say that they have helped to make a difference. In my mind, and with my perspective, ABSOLUT can definitely take pride in being one of few that supported lesbian and gay rights in times when support was needed,” he was quoted as saying. “I am glad to see that the support continues and it is my sincere hope that ABSOLUT COLORS will help encourage people to let their true personality shine through.”

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Over the last 25 years, ABSOLUT has invested over $20 million into the LGBT community, with some of those marketing dollars supporting LGBT organizations and events such as the GLAAD Media Awards, the 25th anniversary of the rainbow flag, and the Gay Games. ABSOLUT also has supported various gay and lesbian community centers, film festivals, and pride parades.

Now the (more) interesting part: ABSOLUT, even if it has been on alcohol shelves for years, is actually only making its presence felt in the Philippines. This with the launch of ABSOLUT 101, A Course in Good Taste.

“We want people to taste and experience the distinctiveness of ABSOLUT,” says Björn Olsson, beverage consultant and ABSOLUT brand ambassador. “ABSOLUT VODKA is made from the distinct winter wheat mix, select all-natural ingredients, and water from the distillery’s very own source (V&S Absolut Spirits gets its water from its own deep well that comes from the region of Åhus in southern Sweden, where all ABSOLUT VODKA is produced) It’s all about quality, good quality.”

What’s only better than this is that, even in the Philippines, “aside from letting people appreciate vodka, ABSOLUT VODKA touches the lives of so many people as it is a staunch supporter of the arts, music, and fashion, among others.”

And so the rainbow flag – ABSOLUT style – will, hopefully, rise here, too; so that what better way to have fun (getting alcoholic satisfaction) than by doing so while supporting one that supports the LGBT community?

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