We created Absolut Labs to do two things. It's a think tank, producing original research like the annual "State of Night Life" report. And an internal venture studio, allowing the business to act like a very lean, fast, agile idea incubator that beta tests new ideas and launches them quickly, without a lot of money but in a way that allows us to gain insights and understanding of how the market is responding.
Absolut Labs focus was on what’s next. The innovation process centered around three key themes coming together, Art, Music & Technology.
Unearthing opportunities at the intersection of these three themes led to a process of rapid prototyping, testing & validation, through to MVP.
Supporting the innovation process through genuine cultural insights was important, so we set about recruiting 100 leading cultural creators from Cities across the US to form the Absolut Labs Culture 100. These individuals became a resource for cultural insights and concept testing, along with key voices in an annual ‘Nightlife 100’ Absolut Labs Insight Report.
A leading initiative to be developed through the Absolut Labs Innovation Process was Absolut Reality. A program that bought together Art and Music through the latest technology, Virtual Reality. Born out of the insight that less than 2% of people who want to attend a live event/concert actually gain access, we wanted to take an immersive 360 degree experience to the masses. Absolut Reality allowed anyone with a smart phone the ability to turn their device into a Virtual Reality headset, simply utilizing a piece of cardboard. We partnered with the team at Google to develop a series of limited edition, Google Cardboard headsets customized with exclusive Absolut Art. These headsets were then released for sale as a new revenue stream for the Absolut Brand, and a exciting new technology platform.
Absolut Reality - Bob Moses
We tested the emerging technology and audience appetite by hosting an exclusive show with Electronic Music duo, Bob Moses. A rooftop venue with a view of the New York Skyline at Sunset created an appealing scene, and headsets sold out completely in under 24 hours with orders coming in from across the US. Viewers were able to tune in live to this 360 degree experience and watch on demand after the event.
We engaged Grammy Nominated Artist and Gamer, Deadmau5 to collaborate on the design and development of a Virtual Reality game. Absolut Deadmau5. At the cutting edge of Art, Music and Technology we built an interactive first person perspective Virtual Reality game that saw players help the lead character (Deadmau5) navigate his way through a virtual world of challenges on a mission to get to a gig on time. Once players reach the destination they are treated to a full live 360 performance in a packed nightclub.
Ranked in Forbes as one of the "3 Marketing Innovation Labs Worth Emulating".
Absolut reality created a new revenue stream for the business through the sale of custom VR headsets.
Average viewing time for Absolut Reality content was a record breaking 17 minutes vs the usual 23 seconds in social media.
We also won a Webby Award (People's Voice Winner).