Talking to Ridley Scott on directing the Hennessy X.O’s Odyssey campaign

The English film director, who began his career making TV commercials, has produced ‘Worlds of Greatness’ to promote the iconic French Cognac brand

English film director Ridley Scott is best known for his groundbreaking work on epic feature films such as Alien – his 1979 big-screen breakthrough – Blade Runner, Gladiator, and Black Hawk Down.

Yet he started out behind the camera as the director of equally impressive television commercials.


Perhaps his most iconic advertisement was 1984 – a big-budget Apple Macintosh commercial, which was screened during the Super Bowl XVII American football match in the United States in 1983.

It showed the heroine, personifying the Macintosh computer, saving the world from an Orwellian dystopia.

Indeed, Scott’s talent for creating fantastical worlds for the big screen, such as Blade Runner and Gladiator, has also extended to his advertising repertoire.

Ridley Scott’s ‘Worlds of Greatness’ commercial is promoting the iconic Hennessy X.O Cognac range.

This year, after a 15-year hiatus, Scott has teamed up with the French cognac house, Hennessy, to promote its Odyssey campaign, featuring the iconic flagship Hennessy X.O Cognac range, in its Worlds of Greatness advertisement.

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Scott says of his first advertising collaboration since 2003: “I love partnering with Hennessy as the creative process was an absolute priority throughout.

“The result is not simply advertising, it’s entertainment.”

Ridley Scott’s commercial uses hyper-graphic visuals to produce creative interpretations of each one of the Hennessey X.O Cognac’s seven tasting notes or ‘taste scrapes’.

The film features creative interpretations of Hennessy X.O’s seven tasting notes, referred to as the synaesthetic “taste-scapes”.

Scott merges hyper-graphic visuals and tactile imagery with the taste and olfactory sensations of the renowned Cognac.

The character of the Cognac includes sweet caramel notes, hints of spice, a full-bodied oak woodiness, and a deep, smooth finish.

Translating these aspects of the Cognac into something uniquely and dramatically visual was left to the award-winning director.

Scott says: “I think advertising, as realised after 30 years, must shift back to entertainment – to stop treating their consumers like demographics. This is pure art, what we’re doing.”

The finished Hennessy X.O commercial filmed by Ridley Scott will be given its premiere next year.

Thomas Moradpour, CEO of The Glenmorangie Company and previously Hennessy’s global chief marketing officer, shares Scott’s creative vision.

“Luxury appeal is about emotion, it’s about building a dream,” he says.

The advert will premiere next year.

For now, we are being teased by seven 3D ads – produced in collaboration with Berlin-based visual trend lab Foam Studio – as a precursor to the release of the full director’s cut.

They will feature seven unique tunnels, which will ultimately lead to Scott’s complete Hennessy X.O Odyssey.

Note – This story was originally published on SCMP and has been republished on this website with permission.

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