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Hennessy Reintroduces Unsung African American Hero Marshall Major Taylor

Droga5 New York's campaign films were directed by Derek Cianfrance and depicts Marshall as the greatest athlete of his day

Hennessy Reintroduces Unsung African American Hero Marshall Major Taylor

Today Hennessy V.S.' launched their most integrated campaigns, "Major".

Since 2012, Droga5 has celebrated Hennessy’s ‘Never stop. Never settle.’ mantra and the theme of pushing one’s potential through stories of extraordinary individuals and the Wild Rabbit—the brand’s metaphor for people’s inner drive to succeed.

And the next iteration, set to air on TV on April 14, will tell the “Never stop. Never settle.” story of Marshall Major Taylor, the fastest man on two wheels. At a time when an African American world champion of cycling was unheard of, Major Taylor was it. Hennessy’s new creative celebrates his perseverance through adversity and his rise to the top.

Directed by Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine, Place Beyond the Pines), the films depict Taylor as the greatest athlete of his day, a dominant champion whose search for rivalry pushed him deeper into competition with his own self.

What begins as an action-packed 1900s-era velodrome race turns into surreal, psychological race into the mind and soul of ‘Major’ Taylor.

To amplify the campaign, Hennessy enlisted modern-day luminaries – those who also 'Never stop. Never settle.’ across art, music & fashion - to help tell the story of this unsung hero.

Designer Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss captures themes of inner rivalry in a cycling-inspired fashion collection

Artist & cycling enthusiast, Kadir Nelson, channels the spirit of the champion and memorialises his achievements with a modern-day monument

ESPN depicts the cyclist’s story through a contemporary lens in a powerful docu starring BMX influencer Nigel Sylvester, Ayesha McGowan, and more

“The story of Major Taylor is one of a dominant champion whose search for rivalry pushed him deeper into competition with his own self; it was thrilling to visualize the psychology of his chase for perfection,” said Executive Creative Director Alexander Nowak of Droga5.

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Advertiser: Moët Hennessy

Brand: SVP, Hennessy, Moët Hennessy USA Giles Woodyer

Chief Marketing Officer: Thomas Moradpour

VP of Marketing: Global VP Marketing, Hennessy Premium Range Amanda Hawk

Marketing Director: Rachel Li

Project Manager: Hillary Jordan, Kristin Robinson

Brand Manager: Brand Manager, Hennessy V.S & Black, Ryan Chappell

Creative Agency

Creative Agency: Droga5 NY

Strategist: Midori McSwain

Executive Creative Director: Alexander Nowak

Group Account Director: Lindsay Cole

Creative Technologist: Chloe Karayiannis (Junior)

Interactive Producer: Alyssa Cashman

Senior Art Director: Marybeth Ledesma

Senior Copywriter: Phil Hadad

Director of Film Production: Co-Directors - Jesse Brihn, Bryan Litman

Associate Producer: Sasha Pace

Art Producer: Frannie Schultz

Director of Art Production: Cliff Lewis, (Associate) Bianca Escobar

Director of Business Affairs: Jocelyn Howard

Associate Director: Ruben Mercadal

Retoucher: Michael Mockler (Retouch Coordinator)

Design director: Rich Greco (Group)

Senior Business Affairs Manager: Marcelle Gruman, Ann Marie Turbitt

Communications Strategist: Mariel Milner

Head of Communications Strategy: Colleen Leddy

Director of Print Services: Rob Lugo

Counsel: Erica Palaia (Associate)

Group Communications Strategy Director: Delphine McKinley

Group Strategy Director: Ramon Jimenez

Global Chief Strategy Officer: Jonny Bauer

Chief Creation Officer: Sally-Ann Dale

Brand Director: Brand Director, Hennessy V.S & Black, Marion Daunizeau

Designer: Alison Lee (Junior Designer), Andrew Diemer (Junior Designer)

Music Supervisor: Mike Ladman, Jonathan Hecht

Creative Chairman: David Droga

Production Company

Production Company: Radical Media/Nickerson Research (BTS Film)

Executive Producer: (Radical Media) Jim Bouvet,(Radioaktive Film) Darko Skulsky

Director: Derek Cianfrance/ Alex Stratienko (BTS) & Brian Lannin (NAS portion)

DOP: Roman Vasyanov

Producer: Tommy Turtle

2nd AD: Mariko Atamanenko

Researcher: (Susan Nickerson, Chris Lutz)

Photography: Jack Davison

1st AD: Dennis Sonin

Costume Designer: Zelda Sellars

Head of Production: (Radioaktive Film) Sasha Bevka

Production Designer: Ged Clarke


Edit Company: The Quarry / Wax

Editor: Paul Watts

Edit Assistant: Drew Balke (Lead), Audrey Weiner, Jim Robinson

Producer: (Wax) Annabelle Cuthbert (The Quarry) Charlie Morris

Executive Producer: (Wax) Toni Lipari, (The Quarry) Tor Adams

Post Production / VFX

Post Production Company: The Mill

Colourist: Tom Poole (Senior), (Asssistant) Jenny Montgomery

Producer: Alexandra Lubrano

Telecine: Company 3

2D Lead: Christoph Schroer

Production Coordinator: Mia Lalanne

Shoot Supervisor: Gavin Wellsman, David Fleet

Senior Producer: Freya Hewett

3D Lead Artist: Jasper Kidd

Executive Producer: Melanie Wickham


Music Company: Music (Main Film) Woodwork Music

Composer: Philip Kay

Artist: Haxan Cloak

Mix: Sonic Union

Sound Mix: David Pappa

Song: ‘Hounfour Temple’

Producer: Andy Oskwarek, Sam Phillips

Sound Design: Q Department


Photographer: Paul McGeiver

Interactive production: Co-Director - Justin Durazzo

Print / OOH

Print Producer: Rose Mahan

Retoucher: (Senior Retouchers - John Ciambriello, Mike Vorrasi, John Clendenen)