Pernod encourages people to vote for next presidentBy Nicola Carruthers
Absolut owner Pernod Ricard will close its offices and manufacturing sites in the US on 3 November to encourage its employees to vote in the presidential election.
Ann Mukherjee, CEO of Pernod Ricard’s North American arm, is calling for other industry leaders to follow suit and “leverage their influence” to urge consumers to vote for the next president.
“Voting isn’t just a right, it is a responsibility,” said Mukherjee. “As leaders of one of America’s most vibrant and beloved industries, we have an opportunity to give our employees the time and space they need to make voting a priority or contribute to their community by volunteering at the polls, even as they juggle the demands of work, parenting and daily life in the midst of a pandemic.
“We can also use our power and reach to encourage all voters to follow through on their intention to cast their ballot this November. By doing so, we can deliver a resounding message that the spirits industry understands the importance of voting in creating a more engaged society.”
The firm has also unveiled a new campaign for its Absolut Vodka brand to encourage people to vote. The campaign carries the message ‘Vote first, drink second’ and will be the brand’s first TV advert in three years. The advert will debut on 29 September ahead of the first presidential debate.
The campaign will call for drinkers to make voting a priority, featuring messages such as ‘Your vote can shake or stir the election’, ‘Save your drink for after the vote’, and ‘Drinking can wait. Your vote can’t’.
“In the past four decades, about half of eligible voters didn’t participate in the presidential elections,” said Pamela Forbus, chief marketing officer of Pernod Ricard USA.
“We’d never tell anyone who to vote for, but if we can inspire Americans to get out and vote – and if they wish to, responsibly enjoy an Absolut cocktail after their ballot has been cast – we will advance our goal of creating a better blended society.”
Absolut will also launch targeted instigations in a number of key markets to push its voting message.
“It may seem unusual for a spirits brand to so boldly say ‘drink second’ or ‘save the drink for after the vote.’ After all, we’re in the business of selling vodka,” said Regan Clarke, vice president, millennial connector brands at Pernod Ricard USA.
“But Absolut has a long history of engaging in the most relevant social and cultural issues of the day, with the purpose of propagating and championing inclusivity.
“Our deep commitment to that purpose is evident when we are willing to encourage Americans to prioritise voting above all things – even our own product.”
The new campaign is the second from the brand to tackle an important and culturally relevant issue. On Valentine’s Day this year Absolut became the “first brand to engage in a conversation about how perpetrators of sexual assault use alcohol as both a tool and an excuse to commit their crimes”.
Absolut plans to address more issues of responsibility in the future.