Absolut, artists uplift local communities with #ANightForChange

The vodka brand collaborated with artists from seven countries.

Company: Absolut
Campaign: A Night for Change
Agency mix: Cult/Crane.tv (agency partner, production), Issa PR (media outreach)
Duration: September – October 2017

For one special night of artistic expression, Absolut brought together street artists from seven countries to celebrate global unity and show the brand's dedication to creating community-based positive action.

Absolut began planning for the project last summer with Cult, a production company and entertainment agency wing of publishing company Crane.tv.

"The core of the idea was to support different neighborhoods in different parts of the world and see if we could use creativity to drive positive change around specific topics which are in line with our brand beliefs," explained Gaia Gilardini, global communications and channel marketing director at Absolut.

The campaign team decided to use one night to film street artists from around the world painting murals that relate to social or community issues in their respective neighborhoods.

Cult tapped Crane.tv’s network of videographers and producers to scout and arrange production at different locations worldwide. Issa PR, a longtime PR partner of Crane.tv, assisted with additional global media outreach efforts.

Media outreach focused on reaching culture, art, and trade media.

The brand also developed a microsite to house campaign content.

Absolut held its Night for Change event on September 27. Cult's production teams filmed as each artist created a mural with their vision of a better tomorrow, visualizing themes such as sustainability, global unity, and gender equality.

Artists included: Panmela Castro from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Emily Gray from Vancouver, Canada; Fansack from Chengdu, China; Ibo Omari, Poet 73, and Gris from Berlin, Germany; Avantika from Mumbai, India; Beta Rok 75 from Liverpool, U.K.; and Fumero from Brooklyn, New York.

"Artists so often get hijacked by brands to essentially create pretty advertising," said Constantin Bjerke, founder of Crane.tv and Cult. "Absolut did well to allow us to talk to the artists and learn about issues in their communities. None of the walls were branded."

Footage from each of the locations was sent to London to be compiled and edited by the brand film's director, Aaron Rose.

On October 1, the #ANightForChange video was released on the brand's YouTube channel. Absolut included a paid push for the video on social channels and, in the U.S., targeted people over the age of 21 who were interested in street art.

Fans could also check out the microsite for the campaign, which contained the brand video, features on the stories, and issues behind each of the respective works, and a link to purchase prints of each mural. Profits for art sold go towards local initiatives of the artists' choosing and help fund artist workshop series and summits which will take place in the coming months.

Absolut has various branded social channels to reach specific markets all over the world. Once the video was completed, the campaign team sent it to the global social teams and gave them autonomy to use it as they saw fit. The artists themselves also used their social channels to promote the campaign.

Meteoro, an artist from Mexico City, was also supposed to be involved with the campaign, but dropped out after the earthquake in the city in late September.

Staying true to the message and drive of the campaign, Absolut sent a team to Mexico City in early December to show support for the community and Meteoro. Emily Gray and Beta Rok 75 accompanied the team to support Meteoro with her mural and help drive community engagement efforts.

"There are a lot of brands that talk about having a purpose and stating a belief," added Gilardini. "It's important to state a belief, but it is more important to act upon it."

Campaign efforts for A Night for Change landed Absolut in more than 40 media placements in outlets around the world, mostly in culture and trade press. Some notable outlets included GQ, Vogue, HuffPost, and Hombre.

The brand video received approximately 331,000 views during just the first week of paid support on social channels, beginning on October 4. In addition, the completion rate of the video was four-times higher than the brand's initial benchmark.

While the campaign team could not disclose the specific amount, Absolut reached the funding goal needed to bring to life upcoming artistic support programs in each of the individual markets for the campaign.

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