In January 1997, Absolut Vodka launched Absolut Panushka, an online advertising campaign for its famous brand of vodka. The Absolut Panushka Website featured artwork and animation clips by twenty-four international masters of animation, including Pritt Parn, Jules Engel, Kihachiro Kawamoto, Ruth Hayes and others. Each animator was commissioned to create an original ten-second animated film including a visual of the signature Absolut bottle shape. The Website also featured an animation history overview by animation historian Dr.William Moritz. Although there was some controversy about the idea of using (some said exploiting) top "art" animators' talent for purely commercial purposes, absolutvodka.com was certainly an original, cutting-edge advertising campaign and its artsy approach aroused a lot of interest, at least in the animation community. With the passing of time, it seems this concept -- allowing independent animators to use the Web to connect with their audience -- was a precursor. When we released her first commercially available home video on AWN in 1998, independent animator Sally Cruikshank said, "People have been asking me for years to release a video, but I've been waiting for something like this [the Internet] to come along. I've always felt that independent animation was headed for something we hadn't figured out yet. The Internet is the answer to the crumbling distribution business, because it offers independents authority over their content and a direct link to their audience." Today this is a statement of the obvious and, from major Web entertainment providers to mouse-sized sites, using artistic content to lure people to Websites is nothing new. However, four years ago, the concept was new and Absolut Vodka deserves credit for taking this risky, innovative step when the Web was in its infancy.
Some examples of artists profiled on AWN:
- Peter Chung, Bill Plympton, Raoul Servais and much, much more! The Animation Showcase
is AWN's slick online gallery featuring work from some of the world's leading animators as well as emerging talent.
- AWN's gallery displays 20 drawings by Priit Pärn
in conjunction with the exhibition of his work presented at the Ottawa 1996 Festival.
- The AWN Gallery features an exhibit of 28 rarely-seen pieces of art by Sally Cruikshank
Sally Cruikshank's animation on-line is available at http://www.funonmars.com