Boxing conjures up powerful images. Flying fists, brutal blows, blood-and-sweat-splattered faces, a crazed crowd howling in primordial fury.
Hennessy eschews all of that in its new film featuring world champion Mexican fighter Canelo Álvarez. Instead, the cognac brand and its agency, Droga5, opt to focus on the humble wooden stool, a fixture in boxing rings seemingly since the sport began.
This isn't just any stool. In fact, it's a whole squadron of stools that fly through the air with an elegant sense of purpose, landing in a straight line that leads to…
…Álvarez, who rises from his corner, ready for action.
Those stools, 55 in all, represent Álvarez's total number of fights so far. He is 52-1 with two draws. His 56th fight arrives Nov. 2, when he clashes with Russia's Sergey Kovalev (34-3 with one draw) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Of course, all boxers plop down on stools to rest between rounds. Here, however, each one symbolizes part of Álvarez's greater journey. He uses them not so much to clear the cobwebs, but as launching pads to boost the mental focus and stoke the inner fire that makes him a three-weight champion. The line "Where Others Rest, a Master Rises" drives home that notion.
By extension, Hennessy claims to share a similar mojo, with the spot breaking as part the brand's overarching "Never stop. Never settle" campaign.
"With this film, we want to visualize the mastery of Canelo Álvarez—pound for pound one of the best boxers in the world—in a way that defies category conventions," says Droga5 creative director Thom Glover. "For Hennessy, we have to go beyond boxing clichés. We can be sophisticated and refined, treating it differently than everyone else."
Since you're wondering, computer animation wasn't on the card. "These were real stools that were being pulled by crew members," says agency art director Jason Gold.
In fact, they were set up in a line, then pulled in sequence, one by one, into the air. "To make the film, we had to edit it to play backwards—creating the impression that all these stools are floating into place," Gold explains.
The team even took the trouble to make the first stools we see, ostensibly from Álvarez's earliest fights, look more worn and, well, beaten up than those that land later.
Such details aren't readily apparent, nor are viewers told what the small wooden seats signify. Regardless, the spectacle of the stools swooping in and lining up is enough to spark our interest. Bars have stools, too—taller ones, admittedly, and rarely used for regaining one's mental focus (quite the opposite, in fact). Still, that counts as an extra bit of synergy.
While not a total knockout like Ridley Scott's epic Hennessy foray from earlier this year, this latest film scores by putting a fresh twist on a familiar set-up, and packs a visual punch all its own.
Hennessy :: Where Others Rest, A Master Rises
Agency Droga5 NY
Creative Chairman David Droga
Chief Creative Officer Neil Heymann
Executive Creative Director Alexander Nowak
Creative Director Thom Glover
Copywriter Justin Lee
Art Director Jason Gold
Chief Creation Officer Sally-Ann Dale
Director of Film Production Jesse Brihn
Associate Director of Film Production Ruben Mercadal
Executive Producer, Film Mike Hasinoff
Senior Producer, Film Scott Sitman
Director of Business Affairs Dan Simonetti
Business Affairs Manager Ann Marie Turbitt
Music Supervisor Mike Ladman
Associate Director of Art Production Bianca Escobar
Producer, Print Riely Clough
Global Chief Strategy Officer Jonny Bauer
Head of Strategy Harry Román-Torres
Group Strategy Director Will Davie
Strategy Director Ryan McDaid
Strategist Julie Lubbers
Head of Communications Strategy Dean Challis
Senior Communications Strategist Mariel Milner
Group Account Director Lindsay Cole
Account Director Marissa Guerra
Account Manager Julie Trieschmann, Chloe Scutt
Associate Account Manager Vanessa Foinquinos
Project Manager Sarah Arrillaga
Client Moët Hennessy USA
SVP, Hennessy USA Giles Woodyer
Digital Director, Hennessy USA Seth Zaharako
Brand Director, V.S.O.P Isadora Bailly
Brand Manager, V.S.O.P Mary Alice Greco
Production Company Serial Pictures
Director Daniel Askill
DOP Natasha Braier
Executive Producer Violaine Etienne, Sara Greco
Producer Tommy Turtle
Editorial Exile Edit
Editor Lorin Askill
Assistant Editor Steve Nelson
Executive Producer Sasha Hirschfield
Producer Charlotte Delon
Post Production MPC NY
Executive Producer Matthew Loranger
Producer Anna Kravtsov
Creative Director Alvin Cruz
Lead Flame Thiago Porto
Comp Support Michael Glen, Bilali Mack
Clean-up Veerapandian, Mohankrishnan, Jaswan Vishnu,Prasanth Palaparthi, Pichuka Suresh, Pramod Dwivedi
Match-move Karthik K, Sindhuja B
Colorist Mark Gethin
Executive Producer Meghan Lang
Producer Sasha Pace
Music & Sound Design Q Department
Mix Wave Studios
Mixer Aaron Reynolds
Executive Producer Vicky Ferraro
Producer Eleni Giannopoulos
Photographer Jacob Sutton