Media: Strategy Analysis - Targeting the affluent young drinker

Brand: Hennessy Fine de Cognac Client: Moet Hennessy Brief: Increase consumption of Hennessy Fine de Cognac Target audience: Young spirit drinkers Budget: Undisclosed AGENCIES Media buying: Group M Planning and creative: Archibald Ingall Stretton


Increasing trial and frequency of consumption of Hennessy Fine de Cognac was not an easy task. Hennessy has traditionally eschewed major above-the-line campaigns. It is perceived as a "special" drink for "special" occasions and, as a result, Hennessy has had a low share of the cognac market.

The campaign objectives were to increase awareness of the brand and attract a new audience to Hennessy without alienating existing customers.

To increase awareness, with the limited budget, a press campaign targeted publications that revealed high concentrations of Hennessy customer profiles.

To bring new people to the brand, Archibald Ingall Stretton used responsive media around these consumers to recruit prospective customers. Once they were uncovered, interacting with them began with a prestigious call to action. A traditional sales promotion method for gathering names did not sit well with the premium credentials of the brand.


Research showed that the target audience defined "richness" more in how they lived their lives than in materialistic terms, and they sought out luxury brands that reflected this attitude. The campaign, therefore, concentrated on recognising the human moments that enrich life - the small moments that make life worth living.

Through the creative executions, the campaign asked its audience both to notice and celebrate these enriching moments in their lives, with the theme "enjoy the moment". This was brought to life across a range of media by inviting the audience to describe their perfect moment, with a £10,000 incentive to "make it happen".

The multimedia campaign used press advertising, press inserts, direct mail, e-mail, online advertising and a dedicated microsite.

PPress Press ads were placed in specialist titles driving sales with specific retailers. Press inserts defied the usual creative conventions and were made to look like jewellery bags and record sleeves. These were placed in The Daily Telegraph and specialist press whose readership showed a high match rate to the Hennessy customer profile.

PDirect mail Direct mail and e-mail targeted prospects through highly selected data lists by overlaying attitudinal profiles.

POnline Online ads targeted pockets of the prospects; The Times,, AOL and Classic FM were used to drive them to the microsite for data capture.

The microsite acted as a destination for all channels.


The campaign finishes at the end of January, and a number of elements are still in play. However, results to date show more than 6,000 responders have been added to a new database for ongoing dialogue. Approximately 80 per cent of these fell within the younger audience profile. There were a huge number of hits to the website, and the direct-mail response rate was four times higher than the industry standard. Most importantly, sales of Fine de Cognac experienced very strong growth in relevant stores throughout the promotion.

THE VERDICT - James Jennings, joint managing director, BJK&E

I'm not a big spirits drinker, but I probably fall into Hennessy's prospect list - enjoying good wine and food, and happy to pay for it. Having spent a number of years working with (then) United Distillers' brands such as Johnny Walker, I'm also sympathetic to the scale of the task. Recruitment and rate of sale are hard needles to budge, particularly when brands are often supported intermittently or only during peak seasons. So I think it's the right move to try to offer more than some nice brand ads, when there will often be others who can spend more money, and promote heavily in-store.

Thus, coming up with a central theme to inform and lead all communications certainly offers the opportunity to get the marketing budget working harder.

The theme itself, "enjoy the moment", is not the most differentiated, and the aim of owning such a territory is really tough, particularly with low budgets.

I'm less clear on how the campaign will raise awareness significantly with current drinkers - targeting traditional users with press ads puts Hennessy right up against all the big spenders, and puts a lot of faith in a creative execution to provide the standout.

My experience is that the need not to alienate can lead to recessive creative.

In terms of engaging new consumers, focusing effort both by media within channel and by providing a focal point to the campaign - a competition on the website- are smart moves.

There seems a real opportunity to make the brand less about special occasions and more about making the everyday special. To me, this begs to be reflected in media, and this is where I feel a nice idea misses a golden opportunity.

Inserts in the shape of old 45 singles sleeves is neat, but surely the opportunity to listen to or watch long-forgotten classics (online, DVD, CD) would really highlight the joy of simple pleasures and connect Hennessy that bit more deeply with potential customers. Targeting "media moments" and making them special might also help the brand "own" such times or places.

Nonetheless, Hennessy and Archibald Ingall Stretton have taken a step away from the spirits mainstream and, no doubt, gained some insights.

Greater leverage of media opportunities next time could enhance things further.

SCORE: 2 out of 5.

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