Absolut Brings Helmut Lang Exhibition to Web

It’s been decades since Absolut’s advertising had anything to do with vodka, focusing instead on artists’ interpretations of the iconic bottle. Three years ago, Absolut dropped the bottle but kept the artists, inviting musicians, comedians and painters to present their visions of “An Absolut World,” whatever that may be. And now, one artist’s interpretation is available online, for a limited time only.

Fashion designer turned installation artist Helmut Lang has created Alles Gleich Schwer, an exhibition on display in a gallery in Germany — and on www.Absolut.com/HelmutLang, thanks to the vodka’s digital AOR, Great Works. The exhibition in Germany will close this week, but visitors to the Web site will be able to view it through December 31.

According to Ted Persson, Chief Creative Officer/ Creative Director at Great Works, Alles Gleich Schwer is an old German saying that means “everything is of equal weight.”

“The idea is that it doesn’t matter if you experience his art on site in the gallery in Germany or see the exhibition online. It doesn’t matter because it all carries equal weight; one is as good as the other,” he said.

So why not leave the exhibit up online indefinitely? “It doesn’t cost anything to have the site up, but as always, when working with a premium brand, you want to create an attraction around what you do. So limiting it in terms of time is a strength here,” Persson explained.

Precisely what Lang’s creation has to do with Absolut is anyone’s guess — at least one of the pieces on display, a dented disco ball resting on the floor, is recycled from a Lang show in Williamsburg, N.Y. this past year. And accessing the art takes a bit of patience: Visitors to the site are greeted not by art, but by a black-and-white listing of the various pieces on display, which include no small amount of technical information, which reveal the pieces themselves only when clicked on and given time to load.

Persson explained that Absolut moved away from the bottle-centric campaign at least partially in recognition of the changing ways consumers interact with media.

“The old campaign was so heavily print based, and in a new integrated digital world, it’s hard to base everything on print,” he said. “This new ‘In an Absolut World’ concept or theme is much more value oriented.”

Online viewers can download and print a rotating selection of large-format limited-edition exhibition posters from the site, each authenticated with the user’s unique edition number and his or her IP address written across the top of the image file.

Great Works has enlisted several other artists to create works based on the Absolut Life concept, including Kanye West and comedian Zach Galifianakis.

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