After three years of working with Absolut Vodka SA, NATIVE VML has expanded its role from a niche digital supplier to the brand’s lead agency.
“From the beginning NATIVE VML has prided itself on being strategically and creatively led. The agency’s new role on Absolut is testament to this positioning,” says Jason Xenopoulos, CEO and Chief Creative Officer of NATIVE VML.
The appointment is on the back of a successful MTV Africa Music Awards campaign that NATIVE VML developed and managed on behalf of Absolut.
“Africa is Absolut is an integrated Pan-Africa campaign leveraging Absolut’s sponsorship of the MTV Africa Music Awards,” explains Xenopoulos. “As the lead agency, we were tasked with increasing the brand’s relevance in Africa. Africa is undergoing unprecedented transformation so we harnessed the vibrancy and dynamism of contemporary African pop culture and used it as a metaphor to communicate the brand’s core positioning, Transform Today.”
He says the NATIVE VML team was responsible for managing work across a roster of agencies including the media agency, trade marketing, events and PR. “We developed a playbook which detailed every aspect of the campaign and helped to guide all partner agencies.”
The campaign kicked off with a launch TV commercial entitled ‘Africa is Absolut’ featuring local celebrity, Khuli Chana. The mobisite, Absolut.com/|MTVMAMA, invited fans to follow the campaign, win prizes, and attend Road to MAMA events throughout Africa. The campaign was amplified by social media, on and off trade competitions, out-of-home digital billboards and a documentary about Khuli Chana, who embodies what it means to Transform Today.
Melanie Campbell, Marketing Manager for Absolut says, “The strategic framework and boundary pushing creative illustrated by NATIVE VML, make them a great fit for the brand and a good partner for marketing for today. Beyond this, they really are just a great bunch of people we enjoy spending time with, which is important in a lead agency construct with frequent contact.“
“NATIVE VML is actively transforming itself from a digital specialist into a fully integrated agency and iconic brands like Absolut give us an amazing canvas to spread our wings,” concludes Xenopoulos.