Europe had it’s own Kaepernick-like campaign, because of Absolut vodka in Slovakia

Ads, Creativity

An anti-racist ad for Absolut Vodka created a nationwide controversy in Slovakia. With 16,5 million earned media impressions in this 5,5 million country it became the most viral and discussed campaign in Slovak history. Every influencer and medium expressed their opinion or covered this ad, which resulted in a direct sales increase of 117% and positive brand impact as well.

Just a week after Nike’s campaign against racism, featuring Collin Kaepernick, Absolut Vodka launched a campaign in Slovakia, called True colors of Slovakia in which it took a stand for the same cause.

The campaign started in outdoor with a portrait of a local singer of black skin wearing traditional Slovak laces. The headline says “Slovak mothers, great daughters you have” and refers to a traditional Slovak song. The copy in the visual than says: „Our skin has a different color, but we’re all Slovaks. Diversity suits us. Natalia, Bratislava (capital city of Slovakia)“.

This girl is of Slovak nationality, has a Slovak mother, speaks Slovak and lives in Slovakia her whole life. Despite this fact, this was the most controversial piece of the campaign. Just because she is not light skinned.

This visual is accompanied by an online video from a club, where we can hear a remake of the “Slovak mothers” traditional song, sung by Natalia accompanied by a people of different skin colors enjoying the night together. The video ends with the tagline “Let’s live, Let Live.”

The reactions were very emotional and strong on both sides. Slovak extremists and conspiracy lovers, including some politicians were immediately on fire and asked for keeping a traditional “Slovak Slovakia”, accusing Absolut of multicultural propaganda and declaring boycott of the brand on social media. Similar as by Nike’s Kaepernick campaign, few pubs joined the boycott publicly on their Facebook pages, but most of them took it back after receiving negative customer feedback.

In the opposite, a larger part of the country stood against this hate in favor of the campaign. Famous musicians, politicians, artists and the vast majority of Slovak influencers supported the campaign and it’s message. Most of them did it spontaneously and for free as part of the nationwide discussion.

The campaign was prepared under the Absolut vodka’s global creative platform “Create A Better Tomorrow, Tonight” that strives for a more open society in the communication all over the world. The idea and execution came from a local agency TRIAD Advertising and the branch of Pernod Ricard in Bratislava, Slovakia.

In the second phase of the campaign, Absolut started a unique collaboration with about 50 Slovak musicians. Together they donated their tracks to a special Spotify playlist that was accompanied by a Spotify campaigns as well. By listening to this special playlist people could help to raise money for the Slovak NGO People against racism. The campaign was marked by Spotify as the best in the 5 years history in Czech and Slovakia market.

The sentiment counted on the media outputs and social media reactions was 66% positive. In Slovakia – a country of 5,5 million people, the campaign achieved 16,5 milion earned media impressions and was talked about in every media and whole nation for weeks. The campaign had a direct sales impact of 117% increase during the campaign that is a 13% increase year over year.


Advertising agency: TRIAD Advertising Bratislava, Slovakia

  • Chief Creative & Strategy Director: Martin Woska
  • Creative director: Vlado Kurek,
  • Art Director: Csilla Pollak, Adam Majko
  • Copywriter: Vlado Kurek, Matúš Hliboký
  • Strategy Planner: Alan Holub, Jan Papač
  • Account Manager: Silvia Klimková, Zuzana Tvarošková
  • Social media manager: Katarína Šebová
  • Režisér: Pepe Ehrenberger
  • Produkcia: Peter Hledík
  • Fotograf: Matúš Bence
  • Hudobný producent: Jimmy Pé
  • Spev: Natália Dongová

Client: Pernod Ricard Slovakia, Bratislava

  • ABSOLUT brand manager: Zuzana Magalova,
  • Marketing Director: Katarina Hozakova