The Absolut Avatar – Bridging Gaps and Celebrating Diversity
Pernod Ricard in Italy launched a new campaign during Pride month in Milan this summer, intending to bring the LGBTQIA+ community even more together.
It resulted in the community getting together to create unitedly A.L.I.A.S – a virtual face of the community, generated by the photographic inputs coming directly from the community, re-elaborated through AI. We chatted with Letizia Invernizzi, Brand Manager at Pernod Ricard, who explained more about the initiative and how AI technology can help bridge societal gaps.
How did you come up with creating an avatar for Pride, and why did you name it A.L.I.A.S?
The project started in May earlier this year, and the idea developed from insights from the LGBTQIA+ community in Italy. The evidence emerged that the community wanted to collaborate with Absolut and play an active role in the brand’s Pride campaign, as Absolut is an icon for the Italian LGBTQIA+ community. The brand is widely recognized for its strong heritage and reputation in actively supporting the community, being its ally for decades. Therefore, we saw an opportunity to create a unique experience to engage the community during Pride month in Milan, making them the true beating heart of our brand activation. We asked the community and its supporters to upload pictures on an ad hoc site. The images were mixed together by AI in true Born To Mix style, creating a unique visual expression of the Italian LGBTQIA+ community and its allies. The virtual “face” of the community is named A.L.I.A.S. (Anonymous LGBTQIA+ Individuals Artificial Substitute) and represents a virtual ally and ambassador born from the community to support it.
Through this technology, we could involve a lot of people, mixing their uniqueness together while maintaining their identities safe and giving life to a new virtual ally for the community and its supporters: A.L.I.A.S.
What was the purpose of its creation?
Our ambition was to deliver a genuine brand experience that could make the LGBTQIA+ community in Italy feel even more involved in the brand’s activation, so we ensured they could play an active role in our Pride campaign. We leveraged technology to deliver a unique experience for our consumers, ensuring anyone could participate in A.L.I.A.S.’s creation. The AI technology enabled us to bring to life Absolut’s core message: Born To Mix. Through this technology, we could involve a lot of people, mixing their uniqueness together while maintaining their identities safe and giving life to a new virtual ally for the community and its supporters: A.L.I.A.S.
Tell us more about how you launched A.L.I.A.S. during Pride week in Milan?
The LGBTQIA+ community in Italy is very active, eager to be heard, and keen to engage with brands they feel can make a positive difference in society. Absolut has a powerful heritage in the LGBTQIA+ sphere, making the brand a natural partner. Pride in Milan was a perfect opportunity to present A.L.I.A.S. to a wide audience, taking everyone who participated in the project to the parade, whether they could be physically attending the parade or through A.L.I.A.S.’s presence. During Pride we did not only create A.L.I.A.S., but we wanted to actively support the community in their everyday life through the project “Orgoglio Porta Venezia”. This project aimed to create an even safer, more cohesive, and welcoming space within the Milan Rainbow District. We did so through many cultural initiatives, sports, and diffused parties within the district for its community.
Technology has always been a solid tool to enable people to break free from social labels.
Tell us more about how AI and other technology can be a tool for creating a more open and equal world.
Technology has always been a solid tool to enable people to break free from social labels. Sometimes, technology can be misunderstood and misused. However, we want to focus on its positive impact and the opportunities it provides us to reach more people, spread positive messages, and create a more united and open world.
And speaking about A.L.I.A.S, what are your plans for your new avatar in the future?
We plan to continue including A.L.I.A.S in more key brand activations. At this stage, we are working to transform the 2D version into a 3D avatar. A.L.I.A.S will be activated in its new form through nightclubs during the Absolut Nights Tour, creating a strong consumer engagement and emotional bond with them. Additionally, A.L.I.A.S is starting its adventure as a virtual influencer through its own Instagram page, which brings even more to life its purpose as an ally to the community and gives it the chance to engage more directly with the LGBTQIA+ community and the wider audience to spread cheerful, inclusive, and heartfelt messages.