Absolut – Rap of China

The Challenge

With vodka having little share of voice in the alcohol market, the brand struggled to stand out and boost their awareness. Most consumers did not like the taste of vodka and had very little knowledge of how to drink it, having little relevancy amongst Chinese millennials. We needed to empower alternative millennials (aka “progressive connectors”) to love the brand by empowering emerging cultures, while also, increasing sales on e-commerce and improve our brand attributes.


We knew that we were targeting alternative trendsetters. Amongst these “progressive connectors”, we saw that they had a strong association with hip-hop culture, cultivating a strong following that embodied what Absolut represented. In order to reinforce Absolut’s brand attributes amongst Chinese alternatives, we needed the right content partner to convey what Absolut stood for.


We selected iQIYI, one of China’s largest online TV platform, which produced the first rap battle show in China – “The Rap of China”.

While there were many sponsors with much higher investments, Absolut maintained a single-minded message, to empower alternative nights.

To build strong brand equity, we demonstrated extraordinary experiences through an Absolut designed door. The door was the gateway for contestants to walk onto a stage and show China everything that they had.

To educate consumption, we created a Rap of China drink, “Absolut hip-hop”, with contestants demonstrating ways of drinking vodka. We defined an “Absolut Night” by hijacking after party moments to resonate with the audience, incorporating our brand message into rap lyrics.

To drive sales, we designed products related to the show: lyric bottles and special edition bundle packs along with a branded gold chain. Consumers could also get voting tickets to bring their favourites back into the competition.

To continue the momentum, we further amplified with on-ground social & PR events. Inviting rappers to perform across the nation, supported by livestreaming, ensuring we reached every consumer touch point that drove to sales.

Result / Business Effect

The Rap of China become the hottest content in China for summer’17 – ranking #1 in variety shows with 2.83billion video views, shifting this emerging culture into mainstream culture.

  • Absolut’s brand assets achieved mass visibility and reach with:
  • 110million impressions
  • 1.9million clicks
  • 10.4million exposure for 绝对嘻哈 on social
  • 8.9million viewers on livestreams
  • 443k engagements

The campaign successfully helped to uplift brand image, increasing:

  • 32% brand awareness
  • #1 recalled white spirit amongst category competitors
  • 88% thought Absolut brought an alternative night experience (18% uplift vs controlled)
  • 89% thought Absolut was a cool & alternative brand (10% uplift vs controlled)
  • 57% indicated that they would recommend ABS to friends

Although the brand had the lowest investment amongst other sponsors we successfully left an impression:

  • 92% of audience thought that Absolut was the most suitable brand for the show
  • Most relevant/matched brand for the content
  • The show was able to contribute massive growth in sales volume, contributing to 31% of its online sales.


Sarah Weyman