Jack Uldrich
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Absolut Unlearning

Posted in Advertising, Business, Creativity, Design, Food, Food and Drink, General, Marketing, Retail, Television

While TiVo-ing through the Daily Show with Jon Stewart this evening, I stopped to watch an ad for Absolut Abolsut Vodka. (It is posted below for your viewing enjoyment.) It is a clever bit of advertising, but before you rush out and purchase a bottle, I suggest you review this now four year-old article entitled "A Humble Old Label ices its Rivals." In a blind taste test (which is one of my favorite unlearning tactics), a humble $13 bottle of Smirnoff smoked the competition, including the likes of Grey Goose and Ketel One.

As further evidence of the silliness of spending $20-$50 more per bottle for a fancy Polish, Russian or Finnish vodka in a sleek and well-designed bottle, it is worth recalling that by definition vodka is defined as a "neutral spirit, so distilled, or so treated after distillation with charcoal or some other material as to be without distinctive character, aroma, taste or color." In other words, all vodkas, by definition, should taste the same!

If this still isn't enough for you, consider this: almost every vodka producer buys its neutral spirits (which have already been distilled from grain) from companies such as Archer Daniels Midland.

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3 thoughts on “Absolut Unlearning”

  1. Christian says:

    1 – Absolut Vodka is Swedish
    2 – Absolut Vodka is made in Sweden and does not buy its grain from anyone but swedish farmers that grows their crop in the surroundings
    3 – I suggest you read more about Absolut on their website before you post a article like this.
    4 – Their ad is a great work

  2. Jack Uldrich says:

    I’ll accept your second point but that doesn’t change the fact that vodka, by definition, is “to be without distinctive character, aroma, taste or color.”
    Also, I would suggest that Absolut conduct a scientifically valid taste test with other vodkas. If they do and you have the results to prove they have a superior vodka, I’m happy to post the results on my website — because I’m always willing to unlearn myself (and admit when I’m wrong). Until then I intend to keep the article posted.

  3. Jack Uldrich says:

    Dear Readers:
    I just had another reader, Guy Yeoman, direct me to this short review of the history of Abolut. It makes for some fascinating reading: http://www.businessweek.com/2001/01_07/b3719045.htm … all the more reason to unlearn Absolut.

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