Pernod Ricard's Absolut brand has partnered with entertainment specialists elrow for the launch of a co-created festival concept The Gardenarium, at Cova Santa, Ibiza on 31 July. The Gardenarium is the first of the 30 festival and nightlife experiences Absolut will deliver with elrow across 11 global markets this year.
The festival featured an eclectic line-up of musical acts, including Seth Troxler and Hot Chip, as well as an array of immersive experiences designed to reflect one of Absolut's core beliefs that "no matter where we are from, we are all human" and elrow’s belief that everyone should be welcome on the dance floor. These experiences included imagination exploration workshops, suco sessions and a fountain of youth (flowing with Absolut elderflower cocktails).
"Absolut was looking to move into more branded concepts, new revenue streams and looking into creating its own festival," Georgia McDonnell-Adams, global experience manager at Absolut, said.
However, finding the right partner for the festival was essential. "Collaboration is key, particularly for Absolut; we were looking for partners that shared the same values," she explained.
"It’s not about just putting your logo on the wall, especially when you have a brand like Absolut that comes from such a creative heritage, so it was important for us to be part of the journey and create it together. That's why elrow has been so amazing, we’ve actually been on this journey from start to finish."
Jo Vidler, creative director for elrow, found the collaboration to be disruptive to the traditional sponsor brand and promoter relationship: "For both parties it's been a really interesting shift between sponsor brands and promoting. In this instance those roles have been moulded into each other, we’ve got to think together how are we going to make this event so that both brands connect and create an amazing new brand."
Traditional festival activations are still of importance to the brand, added McDonnell-Adams, and the experience of co-creating The Gardenarium will influence how Absolut navigates future festival presences: "Maybe we are going to be asking for more from those traditional festival activation; it's not just a logo on a banner or an invite, it’s actually more of an immersive experience".
Alongside the launch of The Gardenarium, Absolut will host Pink Cathedral experiences at elrow Town in Antwerp, Edinburgh, London and Amsterdam across the summer.