Art & Spirits

“What is living for if not to appreciate art and live in an environment that is not crude,”said Michel Roux.

And appreciate the arts, he did.

It was Roux’s longtime friendship with world-renowned Andy Warhol that fostered the creative genius behind the 1985 “Absolut Warhol” ad campaign. This was the first time a marketing campaign was focused around art and judging by the steady increase in sales for the Absolut brand; it was worth the risk.

Andy Warhol Painting for Absolut Vodka

Roux further extended his artistic campaigns to include other artists such as Romero Britto, Ron English, Ed Rocha, Leroy Neiman Keith Haring and many other talented artists. It was also important to Roux to expose artists to the rest of the world, who were not as established. This philosophy of Roux’s stemmed a national ad campaign where he commissioned little-known artists across the United States to incorporate the Absolut bottle in a way that best reflects their state.

The Absolut art campaigns didn’t stop with print ads. Roux’s passions for all facets of the art world were incorporated into various media’s including sculpture, photography, ballet, jazz, glasswork and couture fashion.
Roux, known for his avant-garde style, worked with fashion designers to organize fashion shows, generating altruistic dollars which went toward various arts and education councils, AIDS foundations and programs to help the homeless. Concurrent with the Absolut art campaigns, Elle magazine even featured an “Absolut Fashion” spread which included one-of-a-kind fashions by 10 of the top-ranked U.S. couture designers including Christian Roth, James Tarattino and Anthony Ferraro.

The creative and artsy marketing tactics didn’t stop with the Absolut brand. Roux orchestrated a campaign for Bombay Sapphire, called the “Bombay Sapphire Designer Glass Competition.” The goal of this campaign was to promote emerging glass designers, by selecting a new designer every year to market the winning glass with the Bombay Sapphire bottle.

To this day, Roux still possesses an admiration for up-and-coming artists and he supports them in his St. Augustine, FL gallery, Absolute Americana. Roux once said

“We are exposing new artists to the public, and we are also exposing art to the public, even if you call it commercial art.”

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