4 Pursue Hennessy

NEW YORK Four agencies will make final presentations the week of May 15 for the Hennessy cognac account, sources said. Estimated billings are $10 million.

MDC Partners-backed Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners, the 16-year incumbent, will compete against sibling Margeotes Fertitta Powell, independent Wieden + Kennedy and WPP Group’s Berlin Cameron United, all New York.

The review began in January [Adweek Online, Jan. 26] and is being managed by New York consultancy Matchworks, which was unavailable for comment as were executives at New York-based Moet Hennessy USA. Executives at the agencies either could not be reached or declined to comment.

Tagged “Never blend in,” a recent campaign from KB+P featured longtime recording artists such as Marvin Gaye and Miles Davis and more contemporary ones like Rakim and Eric B.

A division of LMVH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy), Moet Hennessy USA was formed in February 2005 through the merger of Clicquot, Millennium Import and Schieffelin & Co. Its other brands include Moet Chandon, Dom Perignon, Krug, Veuve Clicquot, and Belvedere and Chopin vodkas.

KB+P has created a TV spot for Hennessy that asks the question, “What is character?” [Adweek Online, Feb. 21].

In the 30-second spot, the camera zooms in on a glass of Hennessy V.S. marque cognac to reveal a contemporary nightclub shot in sepia tones. As the camera pans the club’s multi-ethnic patrons—some deep in conversation, some canvasing the room, others dancing a tango—a voiceover asks, “What is character? Is it in your blood or can it be learned? Is it obvious or is it impossible to define? Will you recognize it if you see it? Not if you have to ask.” The ad ends with a beauty shot of a glass of cognac beside the Hennessey bottle.

The theme line, “Pure character,” was introduced earlier this year as part of the brand’s Hispanic print and out-of-home campaign with John Leguizamo. Commercial director Michael Haussman shot the spot.