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Storytelling: Hennessy’s “Wild Rabbit” Campaign

I’m enjoying the newly unveiled Hennessy campaign. “Wild Rabbit” is a great example of a brand using storytelling to express its desired brand image. Stories help brands educate, entertain, define themselves and influence consumers.

Sir Malcolm Campbell, a racecar driver who set nine land-speed records in the 1920s and ’30s, is the hero of the “The Man Who Couldn’t Slow Down.” He was the first person to drive an automobile over 300 mph. Campbell seems to embody everything Hennessy wants its target to believe about the brand. Maybe the only flaw is the whole correlation between drinking and driving was sort of overlooked here. Nevertheless, we’ll focus on the goal of the story.

Hennessy hopes to use Campbell and his story/image to convince 21-34’s to chase their “Wild Rabbit” and consume Hennessy cognac in 2013. Apéritifs and digestifs are rarely on a millennial’s radar. Admittedly, and while I’m not a millennial, I may have been predisposed to the ideals of this campaign. Recently, on a trip in Austin, Texas, I took my wife to the French restaurant Justine’s Brasserie. I was feeling fancy, so I started the evening with a Sherry Lite Fino. I had read in one of my men’s magazines that sherry was making a comeback, especially as an addition to craft cocktails. It was delightful, and has completely opened me up to the drink, and while sherry isn’t technically a cognac, it’s close enough to serve the purpose for this story.

Back to the campaign … “[Campbell] had an insatiable inner desire to master something, and it was a death-defying feat each time,” said Moët Hennessy SVP Rodney Williams. Thus, while obscure to them, he can be a role model for young Americans—who, given the economic times, said Williams, “have their own obstacles they need to scale.”

Speaking to Ad Week, agency copywriter Felix Richter explained that the 90-second spot features a recording of Austrian psychiatrist Viktor Frankl talking about humans’ unrelenting need to find meaning in life—”a work to do, a job to complete, a task, a meaning, a mission.” Richter went on to say, “The visual storytelling is so self-explanatory that we wanted a voiceover that talked about ‘Never stop. Never settle’ in a more abstract and bigger way—so Malcolm becomes an example of something that is important for everyone.”

 

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