CHICAGO On Monday evening, Absolut took over Venue One to host a launch party for its latest flavor, Absolut Wild Tea. At the 1,000-guest event, which targeted nightlife-industry folks and local media, “we were ultimately trying to bring the flavor to life,” said Lauren Rinkey, the Chicago-based manager of national event marketing for Pernod Ricard USA, the vodka brand's parent company. Because the flavor combines notes of oolong tea and Nordic white elderflower, the event took on an Asian-meets-Swedish theme.
Working with event managers from Legacy Marketing Partners and designers from Event Creative, the Pernod Ricard team settled on decor that would juxtapose the two cultures. The main room, surrounded with all-white walls, meshed with the “stark white aesthetic of Swedish culture,” said Rinkey. An Asian-style pagoda towered over one of two bars, and staffers wore uniforms inspired by Chinese cheongsams.
Designed to reflect the new product's creative collateral, the foyer got the most lavish treatment. Absolut Wild Tea ads, which were blown up and placed on easels and walls at the party, showcase Yeah Yeah Yeahs' singer Karen O in a jungle setting. In an effort to evoke the scene in real life as well, designer Melissa Kirby filled the entry with vines, flowers, and moss-covered rocks. “The ads, and Karen O herself, are very mysterious,” said Rinkey. “We wanted guests to get a sense of that dark, lush setting as soon as they stepped in."
Wild Tea launch parties will also take place in Miami later this month, and in New York and Los Angeles in February.