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

Reaching for heaven and earth with the Piccards

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

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