issue : 032003

For many years, Sunset Boulevard (between Fairfax Avenue and Beverly Drive) has been known for being a haven for billboards for its trendy spots in the midst of the congested boulevard. These ephemeral structures come and go... changing the urban landscape of West Hollywood almost daily. So, it is not uncommon to see innovative and sometimes controversial billboard designs; and who does that best but the alcoholic beverage company like Absolut.

For many years, Absolut used its simple bottle design and diverse mixture of media to promote the brand. At the end of 2001, Absolut used solar power for advertising and simultaneously promote alternative power source on a 50 feet by 18 feet surface with the help of an advertising firm, TBWA Chiat/Day. The design introduced an interesting way to “engage in the dialogue of one of the most challenging issues facing California” and other modern cities I might add.

The unveiled billboard reads appropriately, "Absolut Alternative" and features a giant Absolute bottle made up of solar panels (plus some more hidden panels on top of the billboard). The solar panels absorb the solar energy by day and in return use it as an alternative power source to illuminate the word "Absolut Alternative" at night through more than 210 light bulbs.

This billboard has been disassembled as many others have, but the significance of its design and innovative approach to communicating ideas in an urban scale should be remembered and hopefully explored.

:: REF ::
Absolut Connection
TBWA Chiat/Day
EIN Publishing
Billboard: Art on the Road
Absolut Book

*try driving through Sunset on Friday and Saturday nights