Filed under: Advertising & Branding | Tags: Branded Utility, Branding, Consumer Packaged Goods, Media Arts, Out of Home/Ambient, Stunt
Absolut gave bar-hoppers a taste of what it’s like to live in an Absolut World when they set up Happy Hours at branded ATMs, which would dispense free money during the given period of time. This branding effort syncs with past efforts by agency K-MB, which sponsored free subway performances by famous comedians and published a newspaper titled Abolut World which only printed good news, and agency We Are Social’s Kindness As Currency executions against “in an Absolut World,” which included free coffee for a smile and free movie refreshments for compliments and high-fives, among other playful twists on our more dreary reality. The Absolut ATM, by agency TBWA\Berlin’s estimation, saw an expenditure of €12,000 in free cash generate an astounding 1.5 million media contacts, reaching audiences when they could use a break and turning up the buzz in the press.
There’s a bit of confusion in the blogosphere as to whether the machine doled out free money (as in a cash giveaway) or whether it simply was a fee-free ATM (I’m fairly certain it was the former), but either way, the point is made–in an Absolut world, things are just better. In fact, while the cash giveaway scenario is more dramatic, I actually like the fee-waiving ATM idea better precisely because it’s less outlandish and therefore somehow (to me at least) is a greater random-act-of-kindness gesture of goodwill. It’s also a better leverage of audience behavioral insights, recognizing a truth about the audience’s experience of a night out (running out of cash and having no choice but to pony up for exorbitant ATM fees at in-bar machines), and stepping in to provide a useful service at the right place and the right time, to make life easier and fairer–not to be a magnanimous mechanical rich uncle rewarding greed.
By turning a one-time stunt like free money giveaways into a branded utility like a fee-less ATM, Absolut could give this execution real legs: a fee-free ATM would have a more sustainable application in a bar setting as a fair and easy way for patrons to get money they might end up spending on Absolut, and as a way for grateful barkeeps to earn more money in exchange for a little high-traffic, contextually-relevant adspace.