Art meets technology: Hennessy’s Very Special VR event

Maison Hennessy stands as an iconic beacon in the world of cognac* production and distribution. Every year, Hennessy unveils a new Very Special limited-edition cognac, a masterful blend that pays homage to urban culture and art, forged through exclusive partnerships.

Traditionally, Hennessy invites esteemed journalists to its base in Cognac, France for the unveiling of its new partnership and the resulting special edition of cognac. This lavish premiere allows attendees to deeply engage with both the Maison’s distinct culture and understand the visionaries behind the artistic collaborations.

For the 2021 edition of the Very Special cognac, Covid-19 constraints necessitated that Hennessy present its collaboration remotely. It aimed to do so in a unique and engaging way.

Orchestrating a Very Special VR event

Novelab, a Mantu brand, created a four-day virtual event for journalists to delve deeply into the nuances of Hennessy’s 2021 Very Special cognac and the intricacies of its artistic partnership. The 2021 artistic collaboration featured Les Twins, renowned French dancers and choreographers celebrated for their innovative hip-hop style.

The VR event, captured in 360° video, took international journalists on a journey from the  warehouse where Les Twins honed their iconic hip-hop style to the heart of Hennessy’s legacy in Cognac, France.

The journalists followed Les Twins across nine distinct stops which intertwined vibrant dances with key stages in cognac production.

This wasn’t merely a visual treat; it was interactive. At every stop, participants had a choice to make —  opt to follow one dancer or the other, which directed their own viewing adventure.

A customized mobile app punctuated the VR experience, providing journalists with behind-the-scenes content and setting them up for the next immersive chapter. Additionally, cocktail kits were delivered to the journalists in real-time to synchronize perfectly with the virtual narrative.

The grand finale of the VR event revealed the pinnacle of their collaboration — the new Hennessy bottles. Here, traditional video gave way to a game-like 3D space. The lines between reality and the virtual blurred as the journalists could interact with a digital version of Les Twins, who then morphed into the much-anticipated bottles.

In collaboration with an events company, Novelab conceptualized and crafted the entire experience, leading the narrative development and technological components. This included creating a back-end system to monitor engagement and address issues instantly. 

The immersive VR event transformed what could have been a mere substitute for real-life interaction into a thrilling and novel experience. Rather than being passive observers, journalists felt ensconced in each part of the event. The feeling was akin to being inside the narrative while the world moved around them.

Through innovative tech and artful storytelling, this project redefined immersive experiences, ensuring Hennessy and Les Twins’ collaboration remained etched in memory.

*Alcohol abuse is dangerous for health. Consume in moderation.

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