Hennessy spotlights a forgotten African-American cycling pioneer

Marshall "Major" Taylor gets a well-deserved remembrance in latest 'Wild Rabbit' spot

Published On
Apr 16, 2018

Editor's Pick

In 1899, Marshall "Major" Taylor became the first African-American to win a world championship in cycling. Largely forgotten for decades, the sports pioneer is now memorialized in a new spot for Hennessey cognac, the latest in the spirit brand's long-running "Wild Rabbit" campaign.

A 90-second short film directed by Derek Cianfrance--best known for the Ryan Gosling vehicle "Blue Valentine"--finds Taylor on the track of a velodrome, legs pumping furiously as he zips past competitors with preternatural speed. As he nears the end of the race, his true opponent--Taylor himself--finally comes into focus, exemplifying the campaign's "Never stop. Never settle" tagline.

Shorter 30- and 15-second cuts of the film are narrated by musician Nas, who was the subject of a previous spot in the campaign, as were the father and son explorer duo Auguste and Jacques Piccard. The integrated effort from Droga5 also includes a cycling-inspired fashion collection by Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss, a sculpture by Kadir Nelson and an ESPN documentary featuring BMX star Nigel Sylvester and cyclist Ayesha McGowan.


Apr 16, 2018
Client :
Client :
Agency :
Droga5-New York
Chairperson :
David Droga
Creative Partner :
Duncan Marshall
Executive Creative Director :
Alexander Nowak
Senior Copywriter :
Phil Hadad
Senior Art Director :
Marybeth Ledesma
Group Design Director :
Rich Greco
Junior Designer :
Alison Lee
Creative Technologist :
Chloe Karayiannis
Global Chief Strategy Officer :
Jonny Bauer
Group Director, Strategy :
Ramon Jimenez
Director, Strategy :
Ben Brown
Strategist :
Midori McSwain
Head of Communications Strategy :
Colleen Leddy
Communications Strategy Director :
Delphine McKinley
Communications Strategist :
Mariel Milner
Chief Creative Officer :
Sally-Ann Dale
Co-Director, Film Production :
Jesse Brihn
Co-Director, Film Production :
Bryan Litman
Associate Director, Film Production :
Ruben Mercadal
Film Associate Producer :
Sasha Pace
Music Supervisor :
Mike Ladman
Music Supervisor :
Jonathan Hecht
Co-Director, Interactive Production :
Justin Durazzo
Producer, Interactive :
Alyssa Cashman
Director, Art Production :
Cliff Lewis
Associate Art Director :
Bianca Escobar
Producer, Art :
Frannie Schultz
Director, Print Services :
Rob Lugo
Print Producer :
Rose Mahan
Group Account Director :
Lindsay Cole
Account Director :
Katie Lancaster
Account Manager :
Jake Stopper
Associate Account Manager :
Kevin Lee
Business Affairs Director :
Jocelyn Howard
Senior Business Affairs Managers :
Marcelle Gruman
Senior Business Affairs Managers :
Ann Marie Turbitt
Associate Counsel :
Erica Palaia
Project Manager :
Hillary Jordan
Project Manager :
Kristin Robinson
Production Company :
Radical Media
Director :
Derek Cianfrance
Senior Vice President, Hennessy, Moët Hennessy USA :
Giles Woodyer
Hennessy Global Chief Marketing Officer :
Thomas Moradpour
Brand Director :
Marion Daunizeau
Global Vice President, Marketing :
Amanda Hawk
Brand Manager :
Ryan Chappell
Hennessy Trade Marketing Director :
Rachel Li
Director, Photography :
Roman Vasyanov
Executive Producer :
Jim Bouvet
Producer :
Tommy Turtle
Production Designer :
Ged Clarke
Costume Designer :
Zelda Sellars
1st Assistant Director :
Dennis Sonin
2nd Assistant Director :
Mariko Atamanenko
Executive Producer :
Darko Skulsky
Head of Production :
Sasha Bevka
Key Visual Photographer :
Jack Davison
Editorial :
The Quarry
Editorial :
Wax NY
Editor :
Paul Watts
Assistant Editor :
Drew Balke
Additional Assistant Editor :
Audrey Weiner
Additional Assistant Editor :
Jim Robinson
Executive Producer :
Toni Lipari
Executive Producer :
Tor Adams
Producer :
Annabelle Cuthbert
Producer :
Charlie Morris
Post Production :
The Mill
Executive Producer :
Melanie Wickham
Senior Producer :
Freya Hewett
Production Coordinator :
Mia Lalanne
Shoot Supervisor :
Gavin Wellsman
Shoot Supervisor :
David Fleet
Creative Director :
David Fleet
Creative Director :
Gavin Wellsman
2D Lead Artist :
Christoph Schroer
3D Lead Artist :
Jasper Kidd
Telecine :
Company 3
Colorist :
Tom Poole
Colorist Assistant :
Jenny Montgomery
Producer :
Alexandra Lubrano
Supporting Production Company :
Second Child
Photographer :
Paul McGeiver
Senior Retoucher :
John Ciambriello
Senior Retoucher :
Mike Vorrasi
Senior Retoucher :
John Clendenen
Retouching :
Michael Mockler
Music :
Woodwork Music
Composer :
Philip Kay
Producer :
Andy Oskwarek
Producer :
Sam Phillips
Artist :
Haxan Cloak
Song Title :
Hounfour Temple
Sound Design :
Q Department
Sound/Mix :
Sonic Union
Sound Mixer :
David Pappa
Marshall Major Taylor Estate Research :
Nickerson Research
Production Company :
BTS Film
Director :
Alex Stratienko
Director :
Brian Lannin

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