Absolutely Stefan

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above: images from Stefan Sagmeister’s 2008 book, “Things I’ve learned in my life so far”

Absolut Vodka‘s ads are immediately recognizable, and over the years, their campaigns have become truly iconic. However, the company’s newest tv ad campaign, produced by  TBWA/Chiat/Day, is a bit too similar to another icon’s work for my liking.

While beautiful, the ad’s imagery and tagline (“Doing something differently leads to something exceptional.”) are incredibly similar in look and concept to graphic design star Stefan Sagmeister‘s  2008 “Things I have learned in my life so far.” A successful design book and exhibit at Deitch gallery in NY, “Things I have learned in my life so far” was inspired by a list of life lessons Sagmeister jotted down while on sabbatical the year before, and then spelled out using creative environmental typographic tools – everything from hangers to body paint, furniture to food, lightboxes to giant, white inflatable monkeys.

I interviewed Sagmeister in 2008 right after the book came out for Graphis. Just this week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sagmeister again for the upcoming fall issue of Clear Magazine. He returns to NY from his latest sabbatical year (in Bali) in September, and told me that when approached for this tv spot, he declined to work with the firm, as he’d committed to only personal design work over the year, and wasn’t taking any new client work.

Take a look for yourself below. And check out my interview with Stefan Sagmeister for Graphis by visiting my Writing Samples page or clicking here: The Art of Introspection.