Behind every successful company, you will find a person that’s safeguarding all the inherit stories and makes sure they’re told as they happened. Lovisa Severin Kragerud is surley one of these storykeepers, working as Corporate Archivist & Chief Storyteller at The Absolut Company. She calls herself “the history hub” and is constantly searching for information gems in old hard drives. We chatted with her on what to expect from the upcoming LinkedIn series “Did you know?” where she will share anecdotes from The Absolut Company’s past.
What does a Corporate Archivist & Chief Storyteller at The Absolut Company actually do?
I’m like a historic hub and go-to person for my co-workers who seeks forgotten content. Jokes aside, people come to me when searching for old material that they can reuse or that might work as inspiration for upcoming campaigns or different communications activities. I’m also using the material for my archive geek-series which contains fun anecdotes that are shared internally. But the most fun part is that I can dig deep and find really old information from the 1800s. For example, letters, business cards, and memoirs from our founder LO Smith.
What does a typical day at work look like?
Ideally, I’m in my bottle archive sorting through a complete collection of all the Absolut bottles, including all versions and all labels. But otherwise, I support various project groups as a historical consultant with a lot of research for inspirative and informative purposes.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
It’s finding gaps in the archives where things or stories might have disappeared over the years. Surprisingly, the 21st century is the most challenging period to find information on. It was a time when we started to digitize all our content, and some hard drives got lost. But our IT department just contacted me and said they found a couple of lost hard drives that I will look into in the next couple of weeks. Like many other companies, our archive will never be completed. It’s like a living organism that will constantly be supplemented and replenished. I am the first archivist at The Absolut Company here in Sweden, and I’ve only worked here for around five years, so it has been – and will be – a challenge to continuously discover and share exciting stories from the past.
Do you have a favorite period in Absolut’s history?
I have a little crush on our campaigns between 1981-2005, especially Absolut’s city ads. Also, I enjoy looking at Absolut’s Fashion campaign that was rolled out between 1988-2006. We actually have an archive with 400 pieces of clothing from designers like Stella McCartney, Tom Ford, and Versace. It also includes garments from Jean Paul Gaultier, Galliano, Helmut Lang, Alaïa, and others. Every design piece is unique and one of a kind. We have everything from bikinis and jackets to pants and jeans. But our net dress, made by Anthony Ferrara in eighteen-carat gold, is in a class by itself. It was worn by Candace Bushnell, the author of Sex and the City, at a fashion event in New York. She was supposed to take it off right after the catwalk ended because of how expensive it was and for safety reasons. But she actually disappeared right after exiting the runway and went off to a party dressed in our gold dress. Luckily, the dress was returned to our office the morning after, packed in a brown paper bag. It will be on display at The Kristianstad Regional Museum in Sweden in a stand with bulletproof glass, among other pieces from our clothing collection, between April and August.
What can our readers look forward to in the upcoming LinkedIn series “Did you know?”
Stories and anecdotes that haven’t been told before. It will be everything from behind-the-scenes material from previous campaigns to tales dating back to the birth of Malibu and Kahlúa, and even as way back as our founder LO Smith’s childhood. The Absolut Company’s products all have their own unique, rich, and exciting histories. For example, Absolut Vodka has a strong connection both in Sweden and USA. Sweden is where the spirit originates from, but when we started to export to the USA in 1979, it was given a second life in conjunction with the branding. We have brands like no other, and now it’s time to shed light on their journeys.