Droga5 Beautifully Tells One of History’s Most Incredible Father-Son Stories for Hennessy

Reaching for heaven and earth with the Piccards

Headshot of Tim Nudd

If you're looking for iconic brand ambassadors for your adventure-themed liquor campaign, you could do a lot worse than the Piccards, the father and son who accomplished incredible—and incredibly parallel—exploring feats in the middle of the last century.

In 1931, Auguste Piccard became the first man to reach the stratosphere, touching the edge of space in a pressurized capsule and balloon. Thirty years later, his son Jacques—in a remarkably complementary expedition in which he honored his father yet did precisely the opposite—became the first man to reach the deepest part of Earth's ocean floor.

For Droga5, they were the perfect subject for Hennessy's ongoing "Wild Rabbit" campaign, which has featured great, daring, record-breaking characters from history since 2012.

And so the agency crafted the gorgeous 90-second spot below, telling the father and son's stories as one—in a clever bit of grand yet personal storytelling.

Creative directors Alexander Nowak and Felix Richter have worked on "Wild Rabbit" ads from the beginning. Here, they've managed to craft the campaign's most breathtaking visuals yet. In particular, the transition between the two stories is transfixing in the way it disorients the viewer—what at first seems to be Auguste breaking through some barrier in space turns out to be Jacques beginning his plunge into the oceanic depths. 

The spot was directed by Daniel Wolfe. He brought in photography specialist Chris Parks, who has produced mind-bending visual effects for movies like Tree of Life and Gravity. The effect is a remarkable cinematic look worthy of the spot's inspiring subject matter.

The :90 uses on-screen text at the end to explain what you've just seen. That's followed by a product shot and the line "What's Your Wild Rabbit?" (The Wild Rabbit, in the context of the campaign, represents any deeply held passion that the cognac brand's target consumer is chasing.) The spot wraps with the tagline, "Never stop. Never settle. Since 1765."

A :60 and a :30, meanwhile, feature voiceover narration by Nas, who says he felt a personal connection to the material.

"The part of the Piccard story that resonated strongly with me is the generational bond," he said in a statement. "My father traveled the world driven by his music and passion. That relentless chase and will to achieve that's at the heart of Hennessy's campaign has also helped shape my musical path. It's in my blood."

"For the past five years, Droga5 has strived to help the Hennessy brand continue to chase its own Wild Rabbit," said the agency's global chief strategy officer, Jonny Bauer. "In the spirit of The Piccards, the brand refuses to be satisfied and continues to reach for new heights."

Giles Woodyer, senior vice president of Hennessy U.S., added: "The Piccards boast a rich family history of pioneering spirit, a narrative that parallels our own storied legacy and the constant pursuit to create the perfect cognac, year after year. It's this spirit of chasing one's Wild Rabbit that really resonates with people, and we're excited to continue the campaign's momentum by sharing the inspiring journey of these extraordinary men."


Client: Hennessy V.S

Campaign: Wild Rabbit

Title: The Piccards

Launch Date: 4/16/16

Agency: Droga5 NY

Creative Chairman: David Droga

Chief Creative Officer: Ted Royer

Creative Director: Alexander Nowak

Creative Director: Felix Richter

Copywriter: Phil Hadad

Art Director: Marybeth Ledesma:

Chief Creation Officer: Sally-Ann Dale

Head of Broadcast Production: Ben Davies

Executive Broadcast Producer: David Cardinali

Associate Broadcast Producer: Sam Marx

Global Chief Strategy Officer: Jonny Bauer

Strategy Director: Elaine Purcell

Senior Strategist: Danielle Travers

Senior Strategist: Zack Cohn

Senior Communications Strategist: Delphine McKinley

Executive Group Director:: Steven Panariello

Account Director: Patrick Rowley

Account Supervisor:: Kendra Schaaf

Account Manager: Andrew DeMatos

Associate Account Manager: Rebecca Warren

Project Manager: Dean Farella

Client: Moet Hennessy

CMO & EVP of Brands, USA: Rodney Williams

SVP, Hennessy, USA: Giles Woodyer

SVP, Strategic Marketing, USA: William Paretti

Brand Director: , USA: Allison Varone

International Marketing &: Thomas Moradpour

Communications Director:

Brand Director: Amanda Hawk

Production Company: Anonymous | Somesuch

Director: Daniel Wolfe

Anonymous, Managing Director, Exec Producer: Eric Stern

Anonymous, Executive Producer: SueEllen Claire

Anonymous, Head of Production: Kerry Haynie

Somesuch, Founding Partner: Tim Nash

Somesuch, Founding Partner: Sally Campbell

Director of Photography: Tom Townend

Somesuch, Producer: Lee Groombridge

Special Photography: Chris Parks

Editorial: Cosmo Street | Trim

Editor: Tom Lindsay:

Assistant Editor: Julie Walsh

Assistant Editor: Magda Plugowska

Assistant Editor: Elise Butt

Cosmo Street, Executive Producer: Maura Woodward

Cosmo Street, Producer: Anne Lai

VFX & Design: The Mill

Executive Producer: Sean Costelloe

Producer: Bugs Russell

Shoot Supervisor: Jasper Kidd, Eric Pascarelli

Creative Directors: Gavin Wellsman, Jasper Kidd

2D Lead Artist: Gavin Wellsman

3D Lead Artist: Jasper Kidd

2D Artists: Andre Vidal, Ben Kwok, Heather Kennedy

3D Artists: Jimmy Gass, Laurent Giaume, Katie Schiffer, Justin Diamond, Edward Hassan, Eshan Parizi, Paul Liaw, Joji Tsuruga, Greg Gangemi

Matte Painting: Cedric Mernard 

Designer: Sally Reynolds

Production Coordinator: Jacqueline Sand

Music Company: Woodwork Music

Composer: Phil Kay

Sound Design: Q Department

CD, Sound Designer: Drazen Bosnjak

Sound Designer: Jean Baptiste

Sound Designer: Saint Pol

Executive Producer: Zack Rice

Producer: Guin Frehling

Sound Mixing: Sound Lounge

Partner, Engineer: Tom Jucarrone

Engineer: Rob Sayers

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.