First Never Follows. A Svensational WhatsApp Case Study from Absolut

3 min readJul 23, 2016


Introducing: Absolut Unique Access

Often cited as the first social media campaign on WhatsApp (appearing in 2013), Absolut built a campaign to promote the launch of a new, limited-edition line of vodka with a humorous campaign; fronted by a fearsome, fictional doorman called Sven.

Vodka is one of those things that has become massive in terms of social culture (Grey Goose Wanker, anyone?) so it made sense to try and use social media to promote something that everyone was loving (but now probably hating!)

Watch the full video here

Step 1: Invite People To Get Involved

The campaign was based around one the things we all love — partying!

The party was so exclusive, that even I wasn’t invited. All joking aside, the goal of the campaign was to build awareness of the exclusive product and establish a clear line of communication with the brand — but remembering that the brand wasn’t just for anyone.

Anyone that knows anything about parties knows you’ve got to be on the list. Not the Z-list, or even the C-list, but the A-list. And remember — this wasn’t just any party, so Absolut created a fake bouncer called Sven on Facebook who partygoers had to get past to be granted access to the event of the year. How? By bartering with him over WhatsApp.

Even the most iron-fisted of businesses would crack a smile at such an idea. It’s just genius!

Step 2: Offer Them An Incentive

This party was so good, that people would do ANYTHING to get in!

It tested the audience’s willingness to get involved and got them to really enjoy the party’s atmosphere having worked for entry, but also it made them show their true personality in a bid to convince Sven.

3: The Killer Tactic

1. Absolut was known as the brand that doesn’t speak and this campaign remained true to their heart, with the use of bouncer Sven.

2. Many of us, (mostly guys!) have had conversations with doorman to help get us into nightclubs; girls may have had an easier right of way so there is already experience of this type of situation (with good and bad outcomes!). Amongst the desired audience — it was fun to engage.

3. By promoting the campaign on Facebook first, Absolut knew they could engage and inspire their audience to take part. This was the real hook of this campaign — it got people crawling over one another to get involved.

Added Bonus:

Being first (and being brave) has earned Absolut more coverage through press and PR. Hats off to the community management team that filtered through the 1000 or so messages aimed at convincing Sven!

This was a massive story and one that really helped to push and promote the profile of the vodka giants long-term.

It might not be so innovative now, but it will still be a super-exciting way to get people involved in your brand through the use of WhatsApp… I can’t wait to see more brands jump on board.

Watch the full video HERE




Saving the world, one disco at a time. Social Media by day, small-time DJ by night