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CORRECTING and REPLACING Level Vodka Launches Nationally; Television Advertising Debuts - a First from the Makers of ABSOLUT.

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CORRECTION...by The Absolut Spirits Company, Inc.

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NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 31, 2004

In BW5340 issued March 31, 2004: Please replace the release with the following corrected version.

The corrected release reads:

LEVEL VODKA LAUNCHES NATIONALLY; TELEVISION ADVERTISING DEBUTS - A FIRST FROM THE MAKERS OF ABSOLUT

The Absolut Spirits Company, Inc. announced today the launch of Level Vodka, the much-anticipated super-premium vodka from the makers of ABSOLUT. Level Vodka embodies the perfect balance of smoothness and character from its unique combination of two distillation methods.

On Monday, April 5th, Level's television advertising debuts on VH-1, FX, E! Entertainment and SPIKE TV, marking the first time ABSOLUT has used the medium to support its products. The launch campaign - funded at more than $10 million - also includes print advertising, public relations, events, on-premise promotions and a web site - levelvodka.com.

"Today marks the launch of an entirely new level of vodka. With our unprecedented support behind the brand, consumers are sure to agree, " said Carl Horton, president and chief executive officer, The Absolut Spirits Company, Inc. "Leveraging 400 years of vodka-making tradition, we've developed a unique product with an exceptional taste."

Level is now available nationwide and is priced competitively within the super-premium vodka segment. Level comes in three sizes: 50 ml, 750 ml and 1 liter. It will also be available in a 1-liter size at duty free retail outlets globally in May 2004.

Tall and lean, with an elegant frosted surface and gleaming silver cap, the Level bottle is designed to stand out in an exclusive crowd with a metallic silhouette of the ABSOLUT bottle embedded in the glass - striking a perfect balance between form and function. The Level bottle was designed by PearlFisher.

As its name implies, Level is the first vodka to be produced by combining two distillation methods, which delivers the perfect balance of smoothness and character. This delicate balance of distillation methods achieves Level's refined taste. Balance serves as the brand's point of difference and the focal point of the marketing campaign.

The initial television spot, entitled "Balancing Act," will also appear on cable networks such as FOX SPORTS NET, Court TV, Golf Channel and Tennis Channel. Created by TBWA\Chiat\Day New York and directed by London-based Daniel Barber, the spot dramatizes Level's exceptional balance by literally elevating the drinking experience 50 feet in the air.

The spot begins with a stylish couple enjoying Level martinis in an upscale restaurant bar setting. However, soon after the cocktails are placed on their table, the couple notices their martinis and the table are off-balance. The camera pans back revealing the entire restaurant scene is atop 50-foot poles, which the waiters - doubling as acrobats - begin to slide down. Once they land on the floor, a waiter pulls a matchbook from his pocket and slides it under the shoe of another waiter holding a pole. With the matchbook under the shoe, the martini and the table become balanced. As this occurs, the voiceover says "Introducing Level, the world's first perfectly balanced vodka. One sip, you'll know a new level." The spot closes with an image of the Level bottle balancing on its side on a martini glass with a carpenter's level bubble moving inside the bottle and, ultimately, settling perfectly balanced in the bottle.

The print campaign features distinctive images of the Level bottle in perfect balance. Photographed in elegant black and white by Swiss photographer Hans Gissinger, the Level bottle balances like a carpenter's level in the three executions to dramatize the perfect balance of the vodka within. In the executions, Level is balancing atop other spirit bottles on the top shelf, on a stack of martini glasses, and ice cubes. The print ads will run in a wide variety of national daily papers, men's lifestyle and beverage trade magazines including The Wall Street Journal, Details, Golf Magazine, Business Week and Cheers.

"The campaign aims to differentiate Level within the super-premium segment, while communicating its perfect balance," said Patrick O'Neill, worldwide creative director on ABSOLUT for TBWA\Chiat\Day New York. "Along with a distinctive print campaign, ABSOLUT's first-ever television advertising is the perfect way to make a bold statement to launch Level vodka."

The levelvodka.com web site features vertical navigation and introduces the visitor to further information about the product, its heritage, drink recipes and much more. The web site was developed by Springtime and Daddy.

Public relations, events and on-premise marketing activities will further communicate balance and Level's unique product attributes. In addition, Level will unveil a national cause-marketing program next week to further support the launch of the brand to consumers. Events will occur in top cities across the U.S. Prior to the launch, Level was distributed to nearly 1,000 tastemakers and featured at high-profile events during the Super Bowl, Oscars and Golden Globe Awards.

ABOUT THE ABSOLUT SPIRITS COMPANY

The Absolut Spirits Company, Inc. is a subsidiary of V&S Absolut Spirits, a business area within V&S Group. V&S Absolut Spirits produces and markets the following brands: ABSOLUT, DANZKA Vodka, FRIS Vodka, Level Vodka and Plymouth Gin. ABSOLUT is the third largest international spirit in the world and is available in 126 markets. The head office is in Stockholm, Sweden. The Absolut Spirits Company, Inc. imports ABSOLUT, DANZKA Vodka, Level Vodka and Plymouth Gin in the US and distributes the brands through FutureBrands, a joint venture with Jim Beam Brands.

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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 31, 2004
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