By Jenny Berg Posted February 25, 2010, 11:14 AM EST
CHICAGO On Monday night, 900 members of the local nightlife industry headed to the W Chicago City Center, where Absolut Vodka hosted a launch party for its newest flavor, Absolut Berri Açai. Legacy Marketing Partners produced the event, and aimed to infuse it with images from the beverage's marketing campaign. Since ads for the fruity alcohol showcase actress Zooey Deschanel sporting a plumed headdress and swinging on a perch in an oversize birdcage, aviary tropes were in no short supply at the late-night gathering.
At the check-in area, staffers wore feathery headbands and perused clipboards beside flower arrangements housed in golden birdcages. Outside one of two event spaces—a lounge area and a high-energy hub replete with DJs and dancing—models in feather-flecked headdresses greeted guests. The bird-inspired decoration also appeared in Event Creative's custom lighting fixtures and in installations that showcased bottles of the new product.
Ian Crystal, a brand director for the beverage company, said that one of the goals of Monday night's gathering was to “communicate to the [liquor] distributors and trade how Absolut is crafted to make the world's best drinks.” So in addition to plumes, gilded cages, and other promotional imagery, the event offered plenty of stiff, carefully crafted cocktails that incorporated the açai-flavored vodka.
Local mixologists manned branded bars, doling out cocktails such as the Jungle Blossom, which blended the new spirit with pineapple juice and St. Germain liqueur. Other offerings included the fresh-berry filled Raspberry Fizz and a lemon-juice spiked Absolut Berri Açai Sour. For the bartenders in the crowd, keepsake recipe cards crowned highboy tables. Other take-home trinkets included silk-screened t-shirts, which guests could customize with the product's logo and images of fruity vines or—surprise—feathers.