Absolut Vodka – Championing Equality, Diversity, and Free Love since 1981

by Chelsea Cummings
Pride March

LGBTQ+ Pride March

Coinciding with this year’s Pride Month, Drinks&Co invited Ester Luna and Pablo Moyano (Spain’s Senior and Junior Brand Manager for Absolut Vodka), to tell us all about the Swedish vodka company’s exciting and innovative work advocating equality, diversity and free love. In this article, we’ll look at some of the many ways Absolut has shown a genuine commitment to defending the right to self-expression and to love who we choose, regardless of our sexual orientation, colour, age or background.

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While drinks brands are quick to jump on the bandwagon during Pride Month, it’s clear that many companies are simply pinkwashing – claiming to be gay-friendly in an attempt to boost their reputation for being progressive, modern and tolerant, and increasing their profits in the process. 

But Absolut is different. Absolut Vodka has been supporting the LGBT cause since 1981 when it placed its first ad in the American LGBT-interest magazine, The Advocate – an incredibly bold and pioneering move at the time. In fact, the premium vodka brand’s genuine commitment to championing the rights of the LGBTQ+ community is evident in a number of campaigns, partnerships and special edition bottles they’ve launched over the past 40 years. To name just a few this includes:

  • collaborations with gay artists like Andy Warhol and Keith Haring
  • partnerships with non-profits such as GLAAD
  • special edition bottles like Absolut Rainbow
  • supporting the creation of the world’s largest rainbow flag, stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean in Key West.
  • sponsorship of the hit TV series RuPaul’s Drag Race
  • and organizing the Civil Love campaign to help interfaith couples in Lebanon get married, but more on that later…
Absolut Colours
Limited edition “Absolut Colours” bottle made in collaboration with creator of the rainbow flag, Gilbert Baker

The sheer number of campaigns and projects that Absolut has been involved in really attests to its commitment to defending LGBTQ+ rights, not just in June, but every month of the year. While we won’t detail all of them here, we’ll highlight some of Absolut’s most innovative and inspiring projects.

Kiss with Pride Campaign, 2017

July 27th 2017 marked the 50th anniversary of homosexuality being decriminalised in England & Wales.

While celebrating this important milestone, the Kiss with Pride Campaign also highlighted that homosexuality was still illegal in 72 countries in 2017. In order to raise awareness of this issue, Absolut Vodka launched Kiss with Pride in support of Britain’s largest LGBT charity, Stonewall.

The project celebrates the people who kiss with pride in many of the countries where same-sex relationships are still illegal. To do this, Absolut asked individuals from those countries to come together and portray human love and compassion at its most natural state, by uniting in a kiss.

Absolut Vodka donated an incredible £50,000 to Stonewall as part of this campaign.

Absolut Kiss with Pride Campaign
Equal Love/ Kiss with Pride Campaign 2017

Alongside the Kiss with Pride campaign, Absolut created a short film titled ‘Equal Love’. The silent film depicts a never-ending and diverse kiss which pays no heed to sexual preference, gender, colour or profession. The short film reflects Absolut’s belief that people should be free to love who they choose and builds on the brand’s progressive views and ongoing mission of championing equal love for all.

Absolut Equal Love

Absolut Love, 2019

In February 2019, Absolut Vodka launched the Absolut Love campaign, which celebrates the stories of Australian marriage equality since the country’s historic YES vote in 2017.

In partnership with Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras, Absolut featured the names of 282 LGBTQ+ Aussies who tied the knot since same-sex marriage was legalised in Australia in 2017. Couples were invited to submit their names to Absolut, as well as share their stories of what the YES vote meant to them. Absolut also partnered up with Australian visual artist Scott Marsh, to paint two of the loved-up couples.

What’s more, the premium vodka brand donated $20,000 to Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras community programs that go towards grants, scholarships and creating greater access for disadvantaged LGBTQ+ people to participate in the festival.

Absolut Love Campaign
Absolut - create a better tomorrow
One of the same-sex couples who got married following the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Australia

Civil Love, 2019

Lastly, let’s look at one of Absolut’s projects that while not directly linked with the LGBTQ+ community, does advocate free love for all, no matter their background.

Against the background of a 15-year long civil war between Christians and Muslims, interfaith marriage is not a civil right in Lebanon. In a bid to tackle this problem, Absolut launched the campaign Civil Love.

To kick off the project, centred around the message of free and equal love, Absolut hosted an exhibition on Civil Love, followed by raising awareness on social media, outdoor billboards, digital media and radio channels and the creation of the Civil Love Boat.

While interfaith marriages celebrated outside the country are recognised, it’s illegal to officiate interfaith unions in Lebanon, meaning couples wishing to marry have no other option than to get married abroad. With the creation of the Civil Love Boat, 12 miles off the Lebanese coast, Absolut brought the possibility of civil marriage closer to Lebanese soil than ever before. This unique campaign allowed hundreds of couples to marry each other closer to home for the first time.

Civil Love Campaign

What’s more, owing to the impact created by Absolut’s Civil Love campaign, Lebanon’s new interior minister rekindled the dialogue on making civil marriage a civil right.

We hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about Absolut’s engagement for diversity, acceptance and free love for all. If you’d like to find out the latest news about Absolut, you can stay up to date and discover their new projects on their website. And of course, if you would like to try some of the Swedish vodka house’s most daring flavours, we have a massive selection here at Drinks&Co.

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