Building a strong presence beyond social.

Absolut Vodka is an iconic brand that has been instrumental in creating groundbreaking marketing communications for decades. As their lead digital agency, we were responsible for re-igniting the brand within the hearts and minds of South Africans who require locally relevant contextual communications. Our success in this led to NATIVE VML being awarded overall lead agency in 2015 based on the massive success of our pan-African campaign, Africa is Absolut, which not only created huge brand advocacy but drove sales to unprecedented levels.

Case study

Absolut One Source

One Source is an Absolut intrinsic that describes the process of producing Absolut Vodka from ingredients sourced in one location - the Swedish town of Ahus. But this global intrinsic didn't resonate with African audiences. How could we get local consumers to care about One Source as much as they cared about 2015's Africa is Absolut campaign?

Challenge

How do we make Africans care about One Source - an intrinsic message that describes how every drop of Absolut Vodka is produced in a tiny town in Sweden? 

Idea

We teamed up with South African hip-hop star Khuli Chana, and created our own ONE SOURCE. The global intrinsic turned into an African Musical Collaboration that spoke to the fact that we Africans were all created in one place - Africa. ONE SOURCE became a war cry of the African creative revolution currently underway, and a celebration of African unity. Together with Khuli we created a documentary series, an EP, and a music video for the title track - chronicling his journey from South Africa to Ghana, from collaborator to collaborator, lighting the fire of African creativity wherever he went.

Result

The music video racked up 754 908 views, total combined media impressions reached a staggering 556 580 741, the engagement rate reached 10.29%, earned impressions totalled 526 141 714 and the total earned media value came to R60 936 557. The music and video was, and is still, played on radio, television stations, blogs and social media across the continent - creating unprecedented earned media for Absolut. 

One Source reached number 1 on iTunes, filled national airwaves, made it to major news and music shows - and was shared by some of the continent's most influential artists - all for free. 

Awards & Recognition

Cannes Lions 2017
Loeries 2017

Case study

Always moving forward.

Absolut aligns itself with trailblazers who redefine cultural norms. It’s a bold brand that is always moving forward. As their agency of record, VML South Africa continues to make Absolut, not just a digital innovator, but also a cultural leader. 

Challenge

While an incredibly strong brand globally, Absolut was struggling to maintain its relevance in Africa.

Idea

A documentary showcasing South African artists, their journey to success, and how they decided to #BeAbsolut about their dreams and passions. Integrated with TV, outdoor, and social, all leading to a sponsorship of the MTV Africa Music Awards 2015. 

Result

So far the campaign has reached more than 11.5 million people. It has achieved more than 430,000 engagements and the official campaign hashtag (#BeAbsolut) has been used more than 10,000 times.

Case study

Inspiring Africans to transform today.

When Absolut Vodka, a brand with a rich artistic heritage, launched their new positioning 'Transform Today', we decided to use art to do something truly transformative.

Challenge

South Africa is in dire need of transformation, a perfect canvas for Absolut to create purpose and literally 'Transform Today' by transforming Johannesburg's inner city.

Idea

We brought 6 artists together in a live-in studio space within the Maboneng Precinct, Johannesburg, for a month to transform the inner city by creating sustainable ideas.

Result

Weekly webisodes documented the process allowing the audience to witness the transformation of ideas in real time. Daily blog and social media posts invited the community to contribute to decisions and involve them as co-creators. In the end, functional art was created and permanently installed across the city, creating long-lasting solutions.

Case study

Absolut One Source Live

Absolut Vodka is "The World's Only One Source Vodka". We're using this unique product truth to retain the brand's leading premium vodka status in Africa... and to bring the continent and its people closer together by reminding them that Africa is the One Source of all creation.

Last year we made 'One Source', the album (a collaboration with renowned African hip-hop icon, Khuli Chana). It united musicians from all over the continent and reached number one on the South African iTunes chart).

This year we wanted to take our support for African creativity further - by creating an owned media property that will help shape the continent's art, music, fashion and photography for years to come.

Challenge

For centuries African creativity has been living in the shadow of the West. Our artists have influenced some of the world's greatest works of art... But few of these inspiring Africans have ever been acknowledged for their contributions.

Without creative heroes to look up to it was difficult to break the shackles of our colonial past and to elevate our continent's own vibrant creativity.

We needed a revolution. One that celebrated the immense value of our own art, fashion and music.

Idea

We created One Source Live - set out to become a symbol of Africa's cultural liberation. It included a festival, short film and fully integrated campaign that elevated the new heroes of African creativity.

The festival gave creative instigators control over their own stages. Allowing them to fully express themselves, elevate and collaborate with their choice of artists and create a platform to light the fire of Africa's Creative Revolution.

Result

The campaign outperformed all expectations. 

  • It generated 525 million media impressions
  • Earned $5,2 Million in free media
  • Increased sales of Absolut by 41% year-on-year
  • PR elicited over 500 earned stories (400% more than expected):
  • Our message reached over 150 million people across the continent, including a global feature on CNN.
  • The name 'One Source' became synonymous with Africa's Creative Revolution.