The luxury conglomerate that owns Hennessy plans to pick a new U.S. creative agency for the leading cognac brand in April, the company told Ad Age.
"Hennessy has [a request for proposal] out to three creative agencies," said a spokesperson for parent LVMH Moet Hennessy. "We are making a greater investment in our advertising campaigns this year and are considering agencies that will help the Hennessy brand make an imprint in a new and innovative way."
The incumbent agency, WPP's Berlin Cameron, was invited, but declined to participate in the review, LVHM said. According to people familiar with the pitch, the contenders vying for the business are Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann Erickson; MDC Partners' Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal & Partners; and an agency team compiled by Havas. Hennessy's media agency is Havas' MPG and its public relations agency is Publicis Groupe's MSL Group.
In 2010, Hennessy spent $9 million on domestic measured media on its various cognac lines, including Hennessy, Hennessy Black and Hennessy Paradis, up from $4 million the year before, according to Kantar Media. The brand calls itself the No. 1 cognac worldwide, selling 50 million bottles a year. In the U.S., sales were up 2.4% in 2010 to $57.4 million, according to SymphonyIRI.
Founded in 1765 by Irish aristocrat Richard Hennessy, the cognac has been bolstered in recent years by its popularity in the hip-hop community. Hennessy Black, which carries the tagline "Done different," is billed as a lighter, fresher cognac and promotes its own lineup of DJs, including "DJ Vice" and "D-Nice."