Ridley Scott shares Hennessy vision, Dunkin’ in the 1400s and other global news of note

Ridley Scott returns to commercial directing with Hennessy

Iconic Hollywood director Ridley Scott (The Martian, Gladiator) has returned to commercial directing—where his credits include Apple’s famous “1984” ad and 1973’s “Boy on the Bike” for Hovis bread—with a new short film for luxury cognac brand Hennessy.

Developed in association with DDB Paris, the four-minute film The Seven Worlds uses Scott’s mastery of conceiving and visualizing foreign worlds to depict the sensation that accompanies every sip of Hennessy X.O.

The campaign highlights seven tasting notes, each of which is envisioned by Scott as an individual world: sweet notes, rising heat, spicy edge, flowing flame, chocolate lull, wood crunches and infinite echo.

A 60-second version of the ad will debut during Feb. 24 Oscars telecast, amplifying what the luxury cognac brand describes as the campaign’s “cinematic flair.” Scott worked with visual effects company Moving Picture Company—whose credits include Alien, The Martian and Blade Runner—and the composer Daniel Pemberton (All the Money in the World) on the score.

Barneys gets into weed

Luxury retailer Barneys New York has announced the opening of a new head shop in its Beverly Hills store called, appropriately enough, The High End. The shop is built around an exclusive partnership with the luxury cannabis brand Beboe, which The New York Times once dubbed “the Hermes of cannabis.”

According to a report in the Times, the store will feature everything from a sterling silver pot grinder (which will set customers back US$1,475) to stash boxes from jewelry designer Martine Ali and papers made from organically grown French hemp.

Barneys president and CEO Daniella Vitale said that the company has always been at the forefront of shifts in culture and lifestyle, and that cannabis is no exception. “Many of our customers have made cannabis a part of their lifestyle, and The High End caters to their needs with extraordinary products and service they experience in every facet of Barneys New York,” she said in a release.

IAB releases direct-to-consumer playbook

The IAB has released a new report called “How to Build a 21st Century Brand: 2019,” which outlines how direct-to-consumer brands are driving what it calls “tremendous transformation” in the way consumer goods and services are created, marketed and sold.

The report notes that disruptor brands are now acquiring customers at scale, “overwhelmingly” through mobile channels.” However, they are also becoming “media promiscuous,” moving beyond social and investing in channels such as over-the-top and addressable TV.

“Thousands of smaller brands are storming the barriers that once protected the giants and they are changing the craft of marketing and selling,” said IAB CEO Randall Rothenberg. “Today, advertising is just one part of [a complex] marketing mix that relies increasingly on first-party data, owned media, self-managed pop-up shops and stores, a feedback loop for rapid and responsive product development, and in terms of ‘traditional’ media, largely mobile and addressable television.”

The report (available here) notes that the direct brand economy is strengthening while physical retail continues to decline. According to the IAB, e-commerce is driving as much as 82% of all CPG growth.

The report also notes that “fast” is fashionable in every product category, with new product launches taking place in just four to seven months, and that two-day delivery is now the cost of entry standard for customer service—and two-hour delivery is next.

Even in the 1400s, America ran on Dunkin’

Dunkin’ is promoting itself as America’s donut chain from the very beginning, with a new ad called “Fuel Your Destiny.”

Set on a ship in the 1400s, the 60-second ad from BBDO New York (in association with Biscuit Filmworks) opens on a young sailor lamenting the fact there’s no such thing as Dunkin’ yet.

The captain attempts to raise his crew’s morale with his vision for America that includes the milestone moments for the coffee chain. “They’ll be running on Dunkin’ soon enough,” the captain tells his crew. “Provided we don’t sail off the edge of the Earth.”

AT&T simplifies its programmatic offering

The programmatic landscape is filled with an often bewildering array of suppliers, but AT&T is attempting to simplify things by trimming its demand-side suppliers to a single entity.

AT&T plans to funnel the programmatic portion of its estimated US$1.6 billion ad budget through its business unit Xandr, which, along with AT&T’s advanced TV, data and analytics businesses ATT.net and AdWorks, forms AppNexus.

AppNexus will be the only DSP to handle open exchange buying across the telco giant’s array of properties, which also includes the WarnerMedia business unit. Its marketplace includes premium inventory across video and connected TV, as well as other formats like native advertising.

While the spend is likely only in the tens of millions, any maneouvering by AT&T in this space is worth watching. After first buying Time Warner and then AppNexus last year, some experts believe (perhaps optimistically) that AT&T could position itself as a viable third option to the Facebook, Google duopoly.


David Brown