Ridley Scott Tries to Best ‘1984’ with Hennessy’s ‘The Seven Worlds’
Thirty-five years ago, Ridley Scott rocked the ad world with Apple’s 1984, which aired during Super Bowl XVIII. Groundbreaking at the time and iconic since, the commercial changed advertising. In February, Mr. Scott tried it again, this time during the Oscars.
The Oscars – what better time to showcase one of filmmaking’s best? The Seven Worlds was an epic ad by Scott and DDB Paris for Cognac giant Hennessy. Advertising, “Each drop of Hennessy X.O. is an Odyssey,” Scott interpreted the brand’s seven flavors, Sweet Notes, Rising Heat, Spicy Edge, Flowing Flame, Chocolate Lull, Wood Crunches and Infinite Echo as seven different worlds in a visual extravaganza.
“This film showcases Ridley’s artistic genius conveying the essence of Hennessy X.O through entertainment that transcends traditional advertising,” said Hennessy Global CMO Michael Aidan. “We hope to have achieved a new benchmark in advertising,” added Alexander Kalchev, Executive Creative Director at DDB Paris. Is The Seven Worlds the new 1984?
The ad transported us thanks to…
1. Visuals – The visuals were going to make or break this ad. It made it. From lush, striking colors to awe-inspiring visual effects, the ad was truly an odyssey. Scott is one of the most visually striking filmmakers of the last half-century, from Alien to Blade Runner to Thelma & Louise to Gladiator to The Martian. Add The Seven Worlds to the list.
2. The Worlds – Forgive me if I talk about visuals again, but that is what the ad was—visuals. Each flavor of Hennessy, from Sweet Notes, Rising Heat, Spicy Edge, Flowing Flame, Chocolate Lull, Wood Crunches to Infinite Echo were each given their own distinct, striking world. From a cave system with wells of honey to a desert of chocolate to an outer rim of a planet in a star nebula, each flavor was presented with gob smacking, state of the art wonder.
3. Ridley Scott – Film is a director’s medium. I can’t say the same for advertising; however, if it’s a Ridley Scott ad, I can. This would have stunk in lesser hands. In Scott’s hands, conversely, we were treated to an immersive, innovative experience that only a true auteur could accomplish. “I was attracted to this project because I was inspired by the potential for art and entertainment to bring this story to life,” said Scott. “I was lucky enough to have the freedom to interpret… and create something amazing. I think people will be stunned when they see the film.” I was.
The ad got stranded here…
1. Prometheus – In 2012, Ridley Scott returned to the Alien franchise with a prequel titled Prometheus. It was an imaginative and visually mesmerizing film, nominated for an Oscar for its visual effects. However, I’ll be darned if I knew what it was about and I’m not the only one! Many walked out saying, “WT-“ you know the last letter. The same goes for The Seven Worlds. On the Rising Heat world, the giants looked like the “Michelin Man” dudes from Prometheus! Ads are supposed to promote a brand. Amidst all the images, it was easy to lose track of what was being advertised. 1984 did not have that problem.
The Seven Worlds is a visual wonder piece. Compared to 1984 on that, it blows it out of the water. However, ads are about brand messages. On that point, Scott’s The Seven Worlds gets muddled. 35 years later, 1984 is still second to none, but The Seven Worlds deserves a look.