Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Power of Good Marketing

I'm not usually the sort of girl who cares about brands. Generally speaking, I don't know who designed my bag, I spent less than $20 on my dress and I couldn't care less whether I have a vodka-based beverage made with Absolut or a cheaper alternative. I'm twenty-one, so I really have no excuse for getting so excited as I stumbled (no pun intended) upon this bottle on my way to pay for my classy and distinguished red wine. It wasn't that England was the only place I could buy Absolut, but the lure of the seemingly exotic bottle appealed to me, and before I knew it I was shelling out another 20£ for a liquor that I hadn't intended to buy or drink.

Back in my room as I snapped a shot of the bottle and uploaded it to Facebook, I had to face the facts: I wasn't above making an impulse buy simply based on the advertised "special London edition" vodka. I don't entirely regret my decision. It really is a cool bottle, designed by the elusive Jamie Hewlett of the Gorillaz, but I do feel slightly embarrassed by how easily I was influenced to spend money on a product simply because of its packaging. I dealt with my journalism student shame at being so gullible, but once I thought about it, isn't that how advertising works? Taking a product that often has many comparable alternatives in the market and making it seem unique is one of life's necessary evils.

I've had one mixed drink with my Absolut: a Tesco diet ginger beer (which I admit I also bought for its novelty) and vodka. As I drank it, someone asked me if the London edition of Absolut had a special London flavor, and I'm sorry to say that no, this product is identical to Absolut back home (no flavoring of fish and chips here!). It's not bad, but if we're being entirely honest, I'm much more of a have-a-glass-of-wine-with-dinner type of girl.


  1. First of all, that bottle has a fantastic design so I wouldn't feel too ashamed about caving in. You definitely were taken in despite being a journalism major, but you were also taken in as something else: a tourist.

    This bottle is obviously intended for people who are visiting places that they want to remember, and bring a piece home with them. It's the London version, which is a city full of tourists (they paint which way to look when crossing the street at intersections--they know we have no idea how to cross the street here!)

    It was also being sold in Oxford, another city that draws tons of tourists. There are tours all the time, and we've all encountered the hoards of middle school kids this past week alone. Those Absolut creators and the stores that sell it (I'm looking at you, Tesco) know what they're doing.

  2. I saw this bottle as well at Tesco and felt the same impulse to buy it - even it cost me a good twenty pounds. I think the alternative artwork and use of bold colors to counteract the simplicity of the Absolut brand could certainly be a marketing tactic to attract more buyers. To us though, buying a fancier bottle of Absolut could be us trying to gratify our desire to have a souvenir or to merely believe that somehow if I drink this bottle of Absolut, I will have a better time partying tonight. You mention that it tasted no different than American Absolut vodka at home and I can believe that. This can definitely be a uses and gratifications approach in that we my satisfy ourselves for wanting a more unique experience with vodka.