Notes from the Mediascape: Spike Jonze makes love with Absolut

The filmmaker is set to premiere his new short film I'm Here in Berlin, following its buzzed-about debut at Sundance. Commissioned by Absolut Vodka, the film is meant to infiltrate the creative community in US and Europe.

The buzz about Spike Jonze’s latest film I’m Here hasn’t just been fuelled by the fact that the film is Jonze’s first love story (about two robots living in Los Angeles), but that it was made in collaboration with Absolut Vodka, and is meant to reflect its brand values.

Absolut has a history of working with artists to infiltrate the creative community – the most famous being a boozy still by Andy Warhol. But with its acceptance at Sundance, and an upcoming showing in Berlin, the film is an example of a more sophisticated approach to the brand’s cultural commitment, says Joe Konietzko, senior global manager of communications at Absolut.

‘We’re going out and not just creating interpretations of the bottle, we’re creating content and media opportunities where they didn’t exist before,’ Konietzko tells MiC. The project was developed in part by TBWA in New York and Stockholm-based Jung Relations.

Another drink company recently executed a similar project, but it’s still a new medium and the business model is unclear.

‘We’ll be held by our superiors to proving that this was a worthwhile endeavor,’ says Konietzko, unable to discuss specific ROI. ‘It’s an experiment and it’s hard to engage ROI when you’re pushing the boundaries of established media and established content,’ he adds.

Absolut makes an appearance just once in I’m Here, but the brand involvement is made clear in the opening credits. Jonze was briefed about brand values by an Absolut marketing head, but otherwise given carte blanche to create the film. ‘The story is very much about how one’s life is enriched by creativity and how they discover the world around the through creativity,’ says Konietzko. ‘It reflects the beliefs of this brand very well.’

Very little traditional media will be used to promote the film, says Konietzko, but a video trailer will be posted online, throughout select blogs and entertainment sites, as well as movie theatres in the US. Posters will launch in the UK, Netherlands and New Zealand markets.