Absolut reveals more than just their process in this new spot about transparency. Yes, this is really at their distillery in Ahus, Sweden. And no, these aren’t just actors. A good percentage of these naked people are actual Absolut employees (Toto, we’re not in puritanical America anymore). Through the guise of an employee induction video, one delightfully goofy employee (ok, that’s an actor) takes you on a tour of their facilities dropping facts about their sustainable approach to making the product. Almost immediately I forgot that they were naked and just started to enjoy the quirky and informative tour. The training video is a clever device – it makes you feel like you’re on the inside, so it retains a sense of humility and aligns with the message of total (and literal) transparency. Not once have I seen a brand successfully combine humor and CSR, but by god, I think Absolut nailed it.
At the end of the spot, the iconic outline of their bottle and a tagline appears – “Create a better tomorrow, tonight.” This is part of a larger campaign centered around a video made by Oscar-winning cinematographer Emmanuel ‘Chivo’ Lubezki (ala The Revenant and Birdman). The idea is to promote creativity to solve some of the world’s biggest problems. As Lubezki eloquently puts it – “Humans have the ability to visualize and invent. Realistically speaking, it’s one of the most wonderful and exciting talents of our species, and also one of the most dangerous. But I prefer to think of it as a positive force, and the force driving progress throughout the world.” This campaign commissioned work by famous artists under this theme. The image below is one of my favorites from Olivia Steele. She places neon signs to make profound, sometimes irreverent statements about life. I’ll be honest, it is a bit expansive for a vodka brand, but it’s a wide umbrella for the other, more specific campaigns to live underneath.
My favorite part about the “Nothing to Hide” spot is how it fits into the larger narrative. It wasn’t a one-off spot – they thought about what brings the different pieces together under the same story – the brands commitment to inclusion and progression. And they extended that story to their website. The “Nothing to Hide” spot is front and center leading to a web page outlining their commitment to transparency and sustainable production.
Moral of the story – brands shouldn’t rush into communicating responsible practices. They need to consider how it aligns with their mission and existing brand message. If it feels forced or disparate from the rest of their story, people won’t buy it. My advice? Strip the company naked. Reevaluate your reasons for responsible practices. Tie it into your brand’s purpose and messaging. Only then will people know you have nothing to hide.