Ridley Scott's Hennessy Ad Is Here, and It's a Surreal and Sumptuous Marvel

An odyssey through the spirit's seven tasting notes

After 15 years away from advertising, Ridley Scott is back—with a flurry of creative activity around long-form spots. 

The 81-year-old director, whose advertising credentials include the most famous ad ever made, directed a short film for Turkish Airlines, a trailer for which ran on the Super Bowl. And on Monday, a remarkable short film he made for Hennessy, the spirits brand, rolled out online. 

The four-minute piece, created with DDB Paris, is intended to visualize the "odyssey" of sipping Hennessy X.O. It does so by building seven surreal, visually mesmerizing worlds for each of the cognac's seven tasting notes. The results are alluring, strange, grand and at times otherworldly. 

See the full film here: 

Hennessy X.O - The Seven Worlds - Directed by Ridley Scott

There is also a 60-second version that will air during the Academy Awards telecast on Feb. 24. 

Hennessy X.O - The Seven Worlds - Directed by Ridley Scott (Short Version)

Effects house Moving Picture Company (MPC), who worked on Scott's films Alien, The Martian and Blade Runner, did the CGI. The composer, Daniel Pemberton, is also a previous Scott collaborator, having worked on All the Money in the World and The Counselor. Scott's own production company, RSA Films, produced the film. Dariusz Wolski, who worked on the Pirates of the Caribbean series as well as Alex Proyas' cult films The Crow and Dark City, was the DP.

"I was attracted to this project because I was inspired by the potential for art and entertainment to bring this story to life," Scott said in a statement. "Hennessy has a great product, and I was lucky enough to have the freedom to interpret this and create something amazing. I think people will be stunned when they see the film."

"When we embarked on this adventure, we dreamed of creating a film that is truly different," added Alexander Kalchev, executive creative director at DDB Paris. "But even in our wildest dreams, we did not imagine we would be going to so many incredible new worlds. Together with Hennessy and Ridley Scott, we hope to have achieved a new benchmark in advertising." 

That's debatable—Scott himself has talked about the primacy of storytelling over visual effects when it comes to making a great ad. This new film clearly leans more on the latter. But it's undeniably rich and eye-catching, more like a work of art than a liquor spot. 

Check out a making-of video below. 

Hennessy X.O - The Seven Worlds - Directed by Ridley Scott - Behind The Scenes
CREDITS

'The Seven Worlds' campaign directed by Ridley Scott for Hennessy, from agency DDB Paris

Hennessy
Global CMO: Thomas Moradpour / Michael Aidan
Global CMO deputy: Antoine Varlet
Hennessy X.O Brand Director: Emmy Aoun Gestin

Director: Ridley Scott
Producer: Debbie Garvey
DOP: Dariusz Wolski
1st AD: Raymond Kirk
Production designer: Marc Homes
Costume designer: Charlotte Law
Make-up: Polly Earnshaw
Editor: Jim Weedon
MPC Head of CG: Carsten Keller
MPC Creative Director: Ryan Jefferson Hays
MPC 3D Supervisor: Boyo Frederix
MPC 2D Supervisor: Rod Norman
MPC Head of FX: Selcuk Ergen
MPC Producer: Tomek Zietkiewicz
Sound Production: The / sound production Paris
Music supervision/Head of Music: Jerome Alquier, The / sound production Paris
Composer: Daniel Pemberton
Mix Music: Sam Okell Abbey Road, London
Sound Designer: Oliver Tarney
Mix (long version Raja Sehgal at Grand Station Recording Studio)
Mixes: Thomas Gabriel, The / sound production Paris
Soundtrack Post Production: Xavier Benoist, The / sound production Paris
Grade: Stephen Nakamura @ Company 3
Supervising Producer: Mark Huffam

DDB° Paris
Executive Creative Director: Alexander Kalchev
Creative Directors: Pierre Mathonat, Alexis Benbehe
TV Producer: Quentin Moenne Loccoz
Managing Director: Xavier Mendiola

RSA Films
Managing Director: Kai-Lu Hsiung
Executive Producer: Debbie Garvey

75 Paris
Managing Director: Emmanuel Guiraud
Executive Producer: Annabelle Fournier

Stillking Prague
Producer: Lida Ordnungiova

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd is editor in chief of the Clio Awards and the founding editor of Muse by Clio.