October 9, 2023
LVMH-owned Cognac brand Hennessy is looking inward for its latest snippets of digital content.
Starring Hong Kong rapper and singer Jackson Wang, the maison is exploring its legacy with new series of short films under the “V.S.O.P: The Inside Story” name. Filmed within and around the grounds of the Château de Bagnolet – the storied Hennessy estate – the four-pronged batch of videos aims to give audiences an inside look at the label’s history and Cognac production.
"Engaging with influencers is increasingly important when targeting a specific audience," said Chris Ramey, president of Affluent Insights, Palm Beach.
"In the United States, Cognac is primarily a classic after-dinner drink for those who achieve," Mr. Ramey said. "To grow the category, Hennessy will leverage status to make it an ‘any-time’ beverage for younger drinkers; coolness counts.
"Introducing and making Cognac cool to younger drinkers [is integral]."
Mr. Ramey is not affiliated with Hennessy, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.
Taking a tour
Each episode of the digital content collection showcases a different part of the estate or Hennessy’s overall business.
Its release follows the “Ask Us Anything” collection going live this summer, which features a similar, but more direct approach to educating the audience (see story).
The first film in the new series, titled “On the Road to Cognac,” focuses on Mr. Wang's arrival at Château de Bagnolet and his initial journey into Hennessy’s history, learning much along the way.
“A Journey with Jackson Wang in Cognac Episode 1: Legacy” by Hennessy
Once he reaches the castle’s grounds, the brand ambassador begins live-streaming to his fans – the singer has amassed more than 33 million followers on Instagram and receives 2.6 million monthly listeners on Spotify. During the recording, he’s approached by a tour guide who brings Mr. Wang inside the property’s walls, showing him many of the maison’s marks present throughout the home.
The first house code noticed is that of the axe, present on every Hennessy bottle – either on the product label or embedded into the glass. Also present within the estate are many portraits of the beverage brand’s founders, aged just like the Cognac the figures portrayed in paint have become known for.
Next up, in “The Emblems of Success,” Mr. Wang ventures into the castle’s cellar, where eaux de vie and finished batches alike rest. Alongside the tour guide, Julien, they taste a new bottle of V.S.O.P, surrounded by barrels dating back 200 years.
"A Journey with Jackson Wang in Cognac Episode 3: Music" by Hennessy
Part three, titled “A Haven for Music Lovers,” sees the rapper meet the lavish dwelling’s piano player. The symphonic duo begins harmonizing, with Mr. Wang singing and scatting along to the notes.
Once they get into a grove, Julien comes into the room, pulling Mr. Wang out of his rhythm to meet someone special, leading into the final episode. Called “A Unique Cognac Tasting Experience,” the artist is led into a greenhouse, where he begins sampling different combinations made by Château de Bagnolet’s in-house mixologist.
Together, he and the bartender discuss the importance and endless possibilities of cocktails, specifically those made with Hennessy’s Cognac.
"A Journey with Jackson Wang in Cognac Episode 4: Mixology" by Hennessy
The series was released alongside the announcement “Hennessy V.S.O.P X Team Wang design,” a limited-edition version of the maison’s iconic libation which features vibrant red coloration.
"With this collaboration, I wanted to share 100% of my journey to Cognac," said Mr. Wang, in a statement.
"And what a journey,” he said. “We made it happen.
“And now, you can make your own magic."
Engaging APAC audiences
Mr. Wang, a brand ambassador for Hennessy, is not only a solo artist; he is perhaps best known for being a member of the K-pop boy band Got7.
The Korean music scene has been an active area among luxury names recently, as its fanbases are known to be ravenous for anything pertaining to their respective favorite artists and groups. Hennessy – alongside many main luxury players – is likely attempting to tap into this uniquely online and engaged segment of the music industry.
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Swiss apparel and accessories label Bally (see story), French fashion house Louis Vuitton (see story), French fashion house Dior (see story) and British footwear label Jimmy Choo (see story) are among the maisons who have tapped new Korean music talent as brand representatives since the beginning of August – the list becomes much more expansive when accounting for the remainder of this year and before.
The vast amount of moves come as the APAC region opens back up following years of lockdowns and travel bans, making the market apt for taps once again while also appealing to the large number of fans K-pop has garnered in the West.
"Collaborations are created to leverage each brand’s clients or, in this case, fans," said Mr. Ramey.
"This campaign is meant to groom younger clients [into the fold]."