Hennessy Debuts Major Ad During the Big Game

Feb. 18, 2019


In the Cognac category, name recognition is a key driver of sales, and Hennessy is one of the biggest names in the business. The brand is constantly innovating its messaging strategy, working to reach wider, more diverse audiences. Recent strategies have seen the historic brand partnered with an up-and-coming boxer and multi-disciplined artist A$AP Ferg, as well as honoring sports legends. In the last year, Hennessy has shined a bright light on the legacy of cycling legend Marshall “Major” Taylor, one of the first African American international sports stars.

Previously, Hennessy had focused on Taylor as part of the fifth “Wild Rabbit” campaign, releasing a television spot that explores his career, his achievements, and how his drive to dominate cycling embodied the “never stop, never settle” ethos of Hennessy.



Before now, Taylor’s story was largely unknown, outside of dedicated fans of international cycling. However, the Wild Rabbit campaign pushed Taylor into the spotlight for a new generation, and this month Hennessy put Taylor’s story front and center on one of the biggest forums on one of the biggest days of the year for reaching audiences: The Big Game.

Sunday, February 3, Hennessy’s Taylor ad made its game day debut, the first ever for Hennessy. The commercial, called simply “Major” and narrated by legendary hip-hop artist Nas, brilliantly illustrates the ‘never stop, never settle” mantra and the power we each have to achieve great things.

For those not in the know, Taylor was the world’s greatest cyclist during the late 1890s, and throughout his career he was unstoppable, dominating his competition in the states and overseas. He held seven world records by 1898, and in 1899, became one of the first African Americans to win a world championship, according to Hennessy. His unparalleled success as a cyclist propelled him to the heights of celebrity, making him one of the world’s first superstar sports icons.

This year, viewers watching the Big Game were introduced to Taylor’s singular story between the third and fourth quarters in several large media markets, including Philadelphia, Washington DC, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Boston, Las Vegas, New York, San Fran, Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami. This kind of exposure, particularly in urban markets, will help propel Hennessy further among multicultural audiences in particular. To follow up on the success of this ad’s reach, Hennessy is partnering with ESPN to develop a short-form documentary on Taylor’s life and career.

In the meantime, fans of Taylor and Hennessy throughout the country are invited to toast Taylor’s "never stop, never settle" attitude with the Hennessy V.S "Major" cocktail. 

"The Major"
1.5 oz Hennessy V.S
0.5 oz grapefruit juice
0.5 oz lemon juice
0.5 oz honey syrup
3 basil leaves

Glassware: Rocks
Method: Add all ingredients to a shaker tin with ice, shake to chill, strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. 
Garnish: Grapefruit wedge

We’re excited to see what comes next from our friends at Hennessy. Talk to your Breakthru Sales Rep about adding Hennessy to your next order, and read more about the Cognac boom here


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