When we think of classic adventure tales, we don’t think of them being told over YouTube, or a GoPro shot on Instagram, but rather among tweed-clad gentlefolk gathered in oak-paneled rooms, surrounded by many leather-bound books and maybe a few trophies of past conquest, a la The Explorer’s Club. And you know what goes well with tweed, oak-paneled walls and adventure? Cognac, probably.
The latest iteration of Hennessy’s long-running Wild Rabbit campaign taps not one such classic tale, but two. The new ad, created by agency Droga5, combines the father-son achievements of Auguste Piccard and his son Jacques. In 1931, Swiss physicist Piccard became the first man to reach the stratosphere, then in 1960, his son Jacques became the first to reach the deepest bottom of the ocean.
It’s a tight fit to jam two equally epic adventures into one spot, but director Daniel Wolfe manages it with an approach that’s more conceptual than documentary, illustrating the parallels in each man’s challenge and triumph.
Droga5 creative director Felix Richter says, this being the campaign’s fourth year, they were eager to add a new dimension to the concept. “After researching lots and lots of stories, the creative team, Marybeth Ledesma and Phil Hadad, found the tale of the Piccards and had the idea to combine two incredible exploratory feats in opposite into one continuous journey up,” says Richter. “The thought that father and son going to opposite ends of the universe is actually one push in the same direction instantly felt not only like a perfect and new articulation of ‘Never Stop. Never Settle.’ but also very beautiful and intriguing.”
Fellow creative director Alexander Nowak says they spent a lot of time figuring out what shots they needed to tell the story that were clear and intriguing at the same time. “While our director Daniel Wolfe got a lot in-camera shots, other shots took a lot of experimentation in post: for example, the ocean-ceiling shot in which the balloon bursts,” says Nowak. “We also worked hard to make sure the enormous bravery of both Piccards came across, and that their feats felt both real and dangerous, while amidst the action, the emotion and special bond between father and son also comes across.”