Absolut x Creative Social = The Connected Bottles Challenge

The Internet of Things has been at the top of the Hype curve since last year. It is a game changer and has the potential to affect so many parts of our daily lives. From smart homes to connected cars, it seems just about every electronic device you own will soon be talking to each other via the web. And it is predicted that by 2020 there will be 25 billion of these ‘things’ in use, creating a market worth $1.7 Trillion.

So what does this mean for a brand like Absolut? A company with a rich history of creativity and innovation, and a product that’s packaging has become arguably as iconic as what is inside.

Well we decided to find out and launched a competition, asking the Socials attending CS Los Angeles as well as our super CS agencies to tackle this simple challenge — Redefine the iconic Absolut bottle for the digitally connected world.

The response blew us away. In total we received an incredible 28 submissions from 17 Socials based as far as field as Amsterdam, Germany, India, New Zealand, Sweden, UK, and the USA. Below we are delighted to announce the winners of the competition. Well done to all and thanks everyone who participated. Hope to see you back at the next one:


Absolut Connection, Huge, NYC

“We loved the consumer focus that this idea had. The DNA of our brand is about creating congeniality and this solution does that brilliantly. It’s something that can be very personal whilst utilising new technology, putting human elements into a connected bottle. The technology adds real value by allowing personalisation of gifts in a non-gimmicky way. The submission was very well thought out with a strong rationale behind the use of the tech.” — Markus Wulff (MW), Digital at Absolut


Absolut Capp, MediaMonks, Amsterdam

“This idea brought the experience of Absolut out of the nightclub and into peoples homes. A really smart example of how technology can be used to enhance the brand experience.” — MW

Absolut Touch, Flo Heiss, London

“A fantastic vision of how technology could be integrated into our products. It drives brand experience as well as adding real value to the customers through additional information or visual stimulus.” — MW


“Absolut has always been passionate about creativity and these submissions all build on that foundation. There is also some brilliant thinking in the area of how new technology can help to create a responsible drinking culture.” — MW

Absolut CapLock, by Razorfish, NYC

Message on the bottle, by Dog and Pony, Amsterdam

VIP Party Bottle, by Razorfish, NYC

Message in a bottle, by UNIT9

And if you are interested in a little more context into the competition and why we did it, this was simply another experiment for us to find new ways for agencies and brands to work together to unleash creativity. Absolut have been brilliant and have been totally open to us creating a really innovative process for The Connected Bottles Challenge which facilitated idea creation while ensuring that there was a fair value exchange. Creative Social has been built over a decade by the advertising industry and its agencies and for us it was fundamental that the process added the right value to both parties. For agencies it was about getting the chance to work on an amazing brief for a fantastic brand while making it as easy as possible to submit your ideas. While for Absolut it was about inspiring what was possible for the brand in this new world of the Internet of Things. The most important point though was that the IP for all submissions remain with the agency or individual who submitted it. While Absolut has the first option to develop any of the ideas with the submitting agency or individual, the

We also played with it in other ways, partly inspired by the pitch that Daniele, our co-founder, ran for Converse in 2011. Here are 3 other ways we tried to make it unique…

  1. Each submission was made up of 2 elements — 1 explanation sheet and 1 image sheet. Both had to be submitted as A4 .pdf documents. This was about pulling out brilliant creative ideas whilst removing the layers of wasted resources that are often spent during standard agency processes.
  2. Submissions had to be totally unbranded to ensure that the judging remained completely impartial. This meant no agency logos, agency colours or marks.
  3. The first round of judging took place during the CS Los Angelesroundtables session. Eight Socials (who had not taken part in the competition) sat down with Fredrik Thorsén (Global Digital Marketing Manager at The Absolut Company) and went through all the submissions as a group to discuss which should make the shortlist of three. The overall winner was then chosen by the Absolut team.

“Having a close connection to some of the most creative people in the world gives us insights about what is happening globally, and that translates into real value for us as brand. Working in this unique set up allows Absolut to have a very personal, open discussion about creativity and brands without having to maneuver through the normal agency / client set-up.” — MW

If you would like to find out more about Creative Social and how you can collaborate with us, please visit us here or contact Jamesk (at) creativesocial.com

In the meantime another big congrats to Tim Nolan and his team at Huge, some rather nice Absolut goodies are on their way to you. And A big thank you to all the Social’s that took part, and massive shout to Absolut for being open to new and interesting ways to collaborate. More to come in 2016!

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