To the average consumer, the Absolut name is virtually synonymous with the entire vodka category. That type of positioning is the product of some serious ad & marketing work. At the heart of that public push is an almost four decade old campaign initiated by Andy Warhol and featuring artistic interpretations of the basic spirit. This week, Absolut announced that Lebanese artist Sarah Saroufim beat out 7500 entrants to carry on that legacy.
Saroufim’s colorful design is a commentary on mental health (as well as an ad for the spirit.) Captioned “Don’t Keep Things Bottled Up,” it will be the latest face of the powerhouse vodka company.
“I’m so honoured to have won Absolut’s Creative Competition. This message is so important to me as I’m not the easiest nut to crack. I don’t open up so easily but when I do, it makes it so much easier to manage the every day,” said the artist. “I hope everyone will learn from this message and see the power of expressing themselves.”
Andy Warhol created the annual Absolut posters, releasing his take in 1986. Int eh following years, he helped his famous friends like Keith Haring and Ed Ruscha win the coveted commissions.
However, in recent years, the artist has been chosen through a juried competition. The 2019 committee included New York based artist, Mickalene Thomas, founding director of the London based Delaphina Institute, Aaron Cezar, and Indian based, artist and curator, Bose Krishnamachari.
“Sarah’s award-winning entry to the Absolut Creative Competition speaks to the urgencies of this time. In an era of post-truth, Saroufim reminds us of the power of having a voice to not only to express but to expose,” said Cezar. “In Sarah’s statement, she expresses her need to overcome mental illness but her work transcends this and demonstrates its strength visually.”
The winning artwork will be displayed on a dedicated site and in promotional materials. Ina addition, Saroufim will receive a prize of about $25,000.