- Absolut Vodka is rolling out a new campaign ahead of Valentine's Day that pushes people to express love more responsibly, whether with their partner, pet, family or themselves, according to a press release.
- The #LoveResponsibly effort acknowledges that the pandemic has placed new strains on relationships, while also creating a feeling of isolation for some consumers. A quarter of millennials have started drinking more heavily over the period and noticed an uptick in negative side effects on their lifestyle as a result, per a survey conducted by KRC Research for the Pernod Ricard brand.
- Absolut will run a series of intimate influencer-led discussions on Instagram Live on the subject, along with sharing other digital and social assets. The spirits brand is also preparing a 15-second TV spot to debut at the Golden Globes on Feb. 28, bringing the purpose-led work to a national stage.
Absolut is the latest brand to take a more grounded approach to marketing around Valentine's Day as the pandemic resets expectations for what's typically a lighthearted occasion. The marketer is trying to thread the needle of promoting its spirits products while recognizing that many people — particularly young consumers in its target demographic — have developed a less healthy relationship with alcohol while stuck at home for a prolonged period.
Nearly 40% of U.S. consumers report feeling additional strain on their closest relationships under the crisis, with some citing alcohol as an exacerbating factor, according to the KRC Research survey commissioned by Absolut. Absolut is angling to ameliorate the situation by encouraging compassion for others as well as self-care and self-love — a strategy other marketers have adopted to give consumers a boost in a down period. It's an approach that breaks with the traditional Valentine's Day focus on couples to instead throw a bigger spotlight on the individual.
"We learned that one in five Americans have turned inwards and focused more self-love in the past year," Tad Greenough, Absolut's global creative director, said in a press statement. "We also learned that for many people, love beyond a romantic partner has become more important in the past year, with people citing relationships with their children and their pets as greater sources of love."
Absolut is pushing people to share answers to the question "How do you love responsibly?" in text, image or video over social media, while tagging the @AbsolutUS brand and using the hashtag #LoveResponsibly. The brand will also run a discussion series on Instagram Live with conversations guided by influencers like Danny Pellegrino, host and producer of the "Everything Iconic" podcast, and Alexandra Rodriguez, a YouTuber and host of "The Fearless Podcast."
Instagram Live, the photo-sharing app's livestreaming feature, has gained traction during the pandemic as a means for celebrities to stay connected to their fans and for marketers to host activations that are either educational or entertaining. The channel is particularly popular among young consumers, who have felt a disproportionate impact to their relationships during the pandemic.
KRC Research's findings revealed 52% of Gen Z and 43% millennials have experienced new pressures with their loved ones over the past year versus 29% of baby boomers who said the same. Certain stress factors were shared across generations: 36% of those surveyed called out the negative impact of isolation and social distancing, while 33% pointed to contentions around how to best navigate pandemic-related restrictions.
Absolut has produced several campaigns that try to provide a clear-eyed view into alcohol-related issues. Last February, the brand ran an effort centered on the importance of consent in practicing safe sex, especially when alcohol is involved.
In conjunction with the launch of #LoveResponsibly, Absolut's parent company Pernod Ricard is addressing a sharp uptick in intimate partner violence that's occurred during the pandemic. The company will donate $150,000 to RAINN, the anti-sexual violence nonprofit it first formed a partnership with last Valentine's Day.