THE PERFECT BLEND by MSLGroup for Hennessy

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Industry Cognac
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market United States
Agency MSLGroup
Released September 2012

Credits & Description

Category: Consumer Goods, including FMCG and Household Products
Advertiser: HENNESSY
Product/Service: HENNESSY BLACK
Vice President: Corrie Tin (MSLGROUP)
Media placement: Press Release - Arizona Republic - 1 June 2010
Summary of the Campaign
What’s your image of the typical cognac consumer? The Hennessy Cognac brand, a leader in the category, is typically tied to a staid, older generation of consumers.
With the launch of Hennessy Black in 2010, the brand’s first major product extension since 1961, the high-class French luxury brand was looking to attract a younger, urban consumer who enjoys high-energy club/bar environments after dark.
In recent years, the new generation has opted for vodkas and tequilas because of the mixable appeal, and ultra-premium brands have successfully attracted and retained this audience. So it was determined the keys to reaching this new generation of consumers was education about the "different" ways to drink cognac and product seeding and association with hip influential consumers and celebrities. The multi-faceted awareness-building and influencer effort included:
• pre-launch local market events to engage target consumers and introduce the "Done Different" theme
• a PR-led national launch campaign
• celebrity and urban influential alliances
• Dance Done Different national dance contest that had online and offline components
These efforts successfully shifted consumer perception of cognac and elevated Hennessy’s status beyond the cognac category. The campaign also helped build a brand connection with a new generation of consumers.
The Situation
Hennessy Cognac has always stood for extraordinary quality. This luxury brand is also associated with an older demographic. Looking to reach a younger audience (specifically the urban consumer), the brand launched Hennessy Black – its first major product extension since 1961.
In recent years, the new generation has opted for mixable vodkas and tequilas. But Hennessy felt its new Cognac product could grab market share from ultra-premium vodka and tequila brands that have had success with this audience.
The challenge in creating a successful campaign targeting this group was positioning cognac as a hip, viable alternative to popular vodkas and tequilas.
The Goal
Research on consumers in the 21 – 29 year-old range confirmed they:
• admire celebrities
• stay connected via the Internet and mobile devices
• like dancing and going to bars
This research proved invaluable in meeting the program objectives:
• Recruit a new generation of consumers to the Hennessy brand and family of products
• Build an emotional connection to the brand among new and existing consumers
• Reinforce Hennessy’s positioning as an authentic, lifestyle brand that transcends and goes beyond the cognac category
• Educate consumers on how to drink Hennessy in various ways: “Mix-ability,” versatility, and a drinking ritual
The Strategy
At the heart of the strategic approach was the "Done Different" campaign, which would create awareness about the Hennessy Black "blending" option and help engage a younger generation of consumers. The multi-faceted effort included:
• Pre-launch Local Market Events – that would engage notable DJs from 9 major cities across the country to introduce the "Done Different" experience at the hottest clubs.
• Launch – of the Hennessy Black program at 2010 Winter Music Conference.
• Ongoing Media Outreach – to secure exclusive launch stories in trade, advertising/marketing outlets and a news bureau to maximize coverage in lifestyle, entertainment, music, and trade outlets.
• Branded Entertainment – including a partnership with TBS’s "Lopez Tonight" to launch the Dance Done Different National Dance Contest in alignment with the first-ever digital nightclub called the Hennessy Black Dance Floor.
• Influencer Seeding – that put the Hennessy Black product in the hands of celebrities and influencers throughout 2010.
A targeted media and influencer effort was executed to generate consumer excitement and buzz for the campaign:
• Pre-launch Local Market Activities:
o Identified appropriate markets to execute pre-seeding media efforts - such as national press release distribution, local media outreach, and influencer seeding - to generate word-of-mouth buzz for launch parties.
• Launch Event:
o Launched the Hennessy Black DJ program at the 2010 Winter Music Conference through an engaging influencer/media event.
• Ongoing Media:
o Secured exclusives with Reuters, Beverage World & Brandweek and managed ongoing news bureau that sustained coverage in lifestyle, entertainment, music and trade outlets.
• Branded Entertainment:
o Aligned Dance Done Different National Dance Contest with the first-ever digital nightclub called the Hennessy Black Dance Floor.
• Influencer Seeding:
o Arranged Hennessy Black gifts to correspond with meaningful moment/anniversary dates that served as milestone marks for each celebrity’s Done Different moment (milestone in professional career.)
Documented Results
• Local market efforts generated more than 72MM impressions; 2010 Winter Music Conference initiative generated more than 254MM impressions and reached over 10,000 young urban consumers.
• Seeded product to more than 60 key influencers; Jose Fernandez, Bobby Jones, Alejandro Claiborne pictured in The Source Power 30 issue with product.
• “Lopez Tonight” Dance Done Different National dance contest seen by nearly 3 million viewers.
• More than 91,000 visited the contest on and over 100,000 visited during the contest launch.
• Exclusive stories totalled 6.3MM media impressions. Sustaining news bureau generated over 60MM media impressions.