February 12, 2019
LVMH-owned cognac brand Hennessy is exploring the taste notes of one of its most popular spirits in a science fiction-inspired film.
A collaboration with director Ridley Scott, “The Seven Worlds” is a journey through the sweet and spicy flavors that make Hennessy X.O. unique. The complex film moves away from the brand’s heritage as X.O’s 150th anniversary approaches in 2020.
“The film explores the multisensory voyage of this rich and complex blend in a pioneering manner that evokes emotion and inspires consumers to discover,” said Giles Woodyer, senior vice president at Hennessy U.S., New York.“It echoes Hennessy’s desire to create and share immersive experiences and storytelling moments with consumers in a luxurious and captivating way, as well as our quest to continue inspiring consumers to push the limits of potential.”
Hennessy's The Seven Worlds opens in the same manner of a classic blockbuster by Mr. Scott. The opening titles present the film and director before copper-colored swirls come into view.
The copper melts into a desert floor for the first world, Sweet Notes. Underground, workers decked in gold uniforms mine for a honey-like substance that floats in the air.
Ridley Scott directed a short film for Hennessy
In part two, Rising Heat, a group of people dressed in white walk across sand dunes holding red umbrellas. Giant bronze figures rise out of the sand and walk alongside them.
Spicy Edge takes place in a more mechanical setting. Pistons shoot out red and yellow dust, reminiscent of spices, which slowly form the figure of a woman.
In Flowing Flame, the excitement builds as fighter pilots fly through red clouds and balls of fire.
Part five returns to the cracked earth of the desert for Chocolate Lull.
A large moon is in the sky, and small stones and larger boulders are hovering off the ground. A man bites into a pebble and he begins to levitate off the ground as well.
Wood Crunches transports viewers to a tropical forest, where colorful birds descend on a figure made of swirling leaves. After the birds fly away, the figure has been transformed into a tree that rapidly grows into the forest.
The Seven Worlds concludes in space with part seven, Infinite Echo.
The Seven Worlds reflect Hennessy X.O.'s flavor notes. Image credit: Hennessy
A solar system appears – complete with a glowing green planet and an asteroid belt – and the camera zooms out to reveal the rest of the galaxy. A giant man formed of clouds appears to be overlooking the planets.
As the camera continues to zoom out, the letters “XO” appear and the cognac bottle comes into view. The final tagline reads “Each drop is an odyssey.”
“Scott’s creative freedom with this project allowed him to deliver a highly cinematic narrative that is pure entertainment and a true reflection of his master skill as a world class filmmaker,” Mr. Woodyer said.
Mr. Scott’s project with Hennessy was originally teased last year.
In a filmed conversation with Hennessy, the director explained that he chose to take on his first advertising campaign in 15 years because this is more art than commercial. Mr. Scott always said that if something special came along in the advertising world he would take it, and Hennessy’s latest campaign is special.
Mr. Scott’s production team, RSA films, worked to produce the film in tandem with advertising agency DDB° Paris. A visual trend lab, Foam Studio, partnered with the agency to create the 3D ads, which premiered prior to the full commercial’s release (see story).
A shortened version of Mr. Scott’s four-minute film will air during the Academy Awards ceremony on Feb. 24.
The cognac brand also advertised during the Super Bowl for the first time.
Although Hennessy rereleased an earlier campaign, its involvement in the Big Game is still notable. While the National Football League ended its ban on liquor advertisements during games starting with the 2017 season, spirits commercials remain limited due to other network television regulations and contract stipulations, allowing Hennessy the chance to stand out in its category during the prime marketing event.
By featuring an inspiring story about a successful athlete unknown to many of today’s audiences, Hennessy still capitalized on the competitive spirit associated with the Super Bowl (see story).
“Hennessy has a longstanding history of celebrating individuals who inspire others by pushing the limits of potential,” Mr. Woodyer said.