NEW YORK, Sept. 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Hennessy, the world’s best-selling Cognac, is proud to announce the next chapter of its award-winning Wild Rabbit advertising campaign with “Maurice and The Black Bear School.” Narrated by hip-hop legend Nas, new creative debuted last night celebrating Maurice Ashley, who by force of will, relentless determination and mental mastery, earned the outstanding title of International Chess Grandmaster. The inspiring story is one of Black intellect and brilliance—showcasing chess as a metaphor for the intellect and strategy to overcome life’s challenges to achieve greatness.
Experience the interactive Multichannel News Release here: https://www.multivu.com/players/English/8774151-hennessy-wild-rabbit-campaign-celebrates-chess-grandmaster-maurice-ashley/
“Chess teaches the importance of strategic thinking and pushes the limits of intellect – not just in the game, but in life,” says Ashley. “It’s impossible to speak to the deep sense of satisfaction that achieving the Grandmaster title gave me, and to be recognized for that accomplishment as part of Hennessy’s Wild Rabbit campaign is both exciting and humbling.”
After failing to make his high school chess team, the Brooklyn resident became a protégé of The Black Bear School, a legendary group of street chess players. Ashley emerged a competitive player taking his learnings, on the board and off, to tournaments throughout New York City until his ultimate victory. In 1999, he earned the Grandmaster title, becoming the first-ever accredited Black player in the 1400+ year history of competitive chess and the world’s first Black Chess Grandmaster.
“In line with a ‘Never stop. Never settle.’ ethos, Hennessy is committed to showcasing extraordinary individuals, like Maurice Ashley, who push the limits of potential and define history,” said Giles Woodyer, Senior Vice President, Hennessy US. “The eighth installment of the Wild Rabbit campaign comes at a time of momentous social significance, and the relevance of Ashley’s story – his mental agility, intellectual integrity and ability to harness intellect to move the game forward – provides inspiration to all the thinkers, visionaries and doers who continue to propel a more inclusive future.”
Created in collaboration with Droga5 and directed by Daniel Wolfe, Maurice and the Black Bear School focuses on the power of the mind and depicts Ashley’s mental journey, the wrestling match with his own brilliance, and the development of philosophical maxims that came to define his approach to chess. The narrative tells a story of mental perseverance and excellence, as he battles external obstacles and pushes the immense potential of his own mind along his inspiring journey to success.
Hennessy’s new campaign, which debuted on September 14th, is comprised of distinct storytelling strains, including:
- Long-form ads that dramatize the story of Maurice Ashley and his development as a champion through camaraderie and lessons of The Black Bear School.
- A series of stand-alone shorts that bring to life the “Lessons of a Grandmaster”, illustrating the mind-expanding lessons Maurice learned through playing chess and drawing a parallel to strategies that can be employed in everyday life.
- An in-depth behind-the-scenes look at the history of Maurice and The Black Bear School, a seminal piece of largely forgotten New York City Black history that will finally be given the attention it deserves.
Since the campaign’s inception in 2011, Hennessy V.S has highlighted the Wild Rabbits of cultural icons including hip hop artist Nas, musician Erykah Badu, while also shining a light on lesser-known historical heroes, like Malcolm Campbell, father/son explorer duo Auguste and Jacques Piccard, and cycling champion Marshall “Major” Taylor.
A cross-platform rollout on TV, digital video and social channels for Maurice and the Black Bear School kicked off on September 14th, 2020. To learn more, more, visit Hennessy.com/US, Facebook.com/Hennessy or Instagram.com/HennessyUS.
The leader in Cognac, the Maison Hennessy has shined around the world with its exceptional know-how for more than 250 years. Built on founder Richard Hennessy’s spirit of conquest, the brand is present in more than 160 countries. Based in the heart of the Charente region, Hennessy is also a steadfast pillar of the regional economy. The Maison’s success and longevity are rooted in the excellence of its cognacs, each of which is born of a unique process of transmission of know-how from generation to generation.
The first spirits house to be certified ISO 14001, Hennessy unites its capacity for innovation and the support of all of its partners to protect this exceptional area. As a crown jewel of the LVMH Group, Hennessy is a major contributor to French international trade, with 99% of production sold in export, and a worldwide ambassador for the French art de vivre.
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