Winner 2018




Lead Agency


Contributing Company



The Challenge

Inspired by its own history of expansion to the world and taste for adventure, the Hennessy Maison featured its prestigious Hennessy X.O cognac as a binding link between East and West to embark its consumers in an ancestral
and universal Odyssey.

The Maison offered a fabulous reinterpretation of the Silk Road through a sensorial and artistic journey to convey their common values of prestige, scarcity, preciosity and adventure. Hennessy X.O proposed to celebrate the
legendary ancient route and its local greatness in a different and more modern angle, from Cognac to Beijing through seven local artists across seven cities.

It was initially a local project focused on the CIS countries, but the story was so great that the idea of amplifying it on a global level came naturally. Therefore, the challenge was to give a global echo to this local operation.

The objective on a global level was to increase brand salience and desirability for Hennessy X.O brand.

The Strategy

This ambitious project was organized around 3 steps.

Step 1:
The adventure started in Cognac where seven contemporary artists, selected and curated by Hervé Mikaeloff, coming from seven countries across the Silk Road, were invited to discover the secret of Hennessy X.O creation. The
artists include Burcak Bingol (Istanbul, Turkey), Victor Syrnev (Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan), Rashad Alakbarov (Baku, Azerbaijan), Rocko Iremashvili (Tbilisi, Georgia), Vyacheslav Useinov (Fergana, Uzbekistan), Ashkat Akhmedyarov
(Astana, Kazakhstan) and Yin Xiuzhen (Beijing, China).

They were immersed in the unique know-how and craftmanship of Hennessy X.O. The objective was to explore the seven Hennessy X.O Chapters through the eyes of each local artist. Each chapter corresponding to a tasting note,
identified by Hennessy Tasting Committee: Sweet Notes, Rising Heat, Spicy Edge, Flowing Flame, Chocolate Lull, Wood Crunches and Infinite Echo.

Step 2:

Back to their home countries, inspired by their experience in Cognac, the artists created seven artwork pieces illustrating their own perception and interpretation of the Hennessy X.O tasting notes as well as their own timeless
relationship with the Silk Road, their city and country.

To give a global amplification to the project, the idea was to associate with an exclusive key International partner that would support the Odyssey along the Silk Road to meet Hennessy’s seven artists and capture their mindset, their
work and the world they depict in their art. Seven photographers followed the seven artists in their country to capture the Silk Road on pictures and in words. They photographed the culture, history and people of these places
and revealed how the commissioned artwork pieces told us something new about the ancient Silk Road.

Step 3:
The seven pieces of art were unveiled successively in each city through immersive exhibitions celebrating exploration and artistic conversation. 200 to 400 VIPs and press per city were invited to discover the works of art.
At the end of these local events, the story was to be told across the media partner’s print & digital platforms at a global level.

The Implementation

The choice of the media partner was crucial to ensure the success of the operation. Several criteria were required to select the Publisher:

  • Global media brand offering shared values with Hennessy and the project
  • High editorial quality
  • High reach in print & digital
  • Capabilities in developing brand content

Affinity with Hennessy X.O upscale affluent target audience, particularly responsive to storytelling and branded content

National Geographic was the obvious choice because of its core mission statement and DNA in adequacy with the project. Moreover, an editorial feature about the Silk Road was planned in the December issue of the magazine.

The Publisher created a bespoke digital hub on charting the artists’ personal Silk Road Odyssey through an interactive map and an article page with images for each artist/city featuring their artwork and a
glimpse of their home-town. Co-branded traffic drivers were created to bring this content to the readers as well as social media pushes on National Geographic travelers’ s Instagram and NatGeo Facebook account to amplify
the campaign. In addition, custom native units in the editorial flow of the Travel and Adventure main pages on were used to boost the traffic for one week.

This activation has been live starting end of November and will continue until the end of February.

The digital campaign was planned on a worldwide basis with an additional pressure on the CIS countries. The cobranded banners were displayed on specific section such as Travel, Adventure and History, and run of the site.
In social media, four posts on @natgeotravel instagram account, including the Hennessy hashtag and Hennessy instagram @ were posted. In addition to that, paid targeted social promotion from the official @NatGeo Facebook
account to drive traffic to Hennessy content on was planned.
This was complemented by a four-page advertorial featuring the story with original imagery and exclusive stories from the artists and 2 advertising pages in the December issue of National Geographic International edition.
Issue featuring the silk road.

The Result

Strong visibility and high level of engagement.
The International edition of National Geographic Magazine reaches 10 million readers per month

  • To date, the display campaign has delivered 7,5 million impressions, 30k clicks. On a good track to possibly exceed the target.
  • The digital hub registered 156k unique users. 290k page views x4 vs target
  • An average time spent of 1:33 minutes (+39% vs average National Geographic benchmark).
  • The social pushes generated on Instagram 550k engagements.
  • The paid amplification on Facebook totalized 56k engagements. Total numbers of clicks 80K +30% vs target
  • 16 million impressions on Instagram
  • 16 million impressions on Facabook
  • Campaign ending February 28th, 2018