Staff Writer
Aug 18, 2023

Hennessy X.O pairs French Cognac and Chinese culture to winning effect in Luoyang

In its odyssey to capture the hearts and minds of China’s younger generation, the historic Cognac brand looks towards rejuvenation and localisation.

Hennessy X.O pairs French Cognac and Chinese culture to winning effect in Luoyang

In June 2023, Hennessy X.O invited Jackson Wang, the brand’s global brand ambassador, to unveil the newest campaign, “Life is the Greatest Odyssey,” in the ancient city of Luoyang. Bringing together “the Original X.O” and “the origin of Chinese civilisation,” the Hennessy X.O Odyssey launch event embraced the fusion of Eastern civilisation and Cognac culture. During the event, a film directed by Academy Award-winning director Damien Chazelle premiered globally at the gate of the establishment, showcasing a stunning interplay of light and shadow, and evoking sensory resonance. The event garnered major attention on social media in China and abroad for its blend of Chinese and Western cultures, forging a bond between Cognac and Chinese culture while also propelling the brand to reach a wider audience among the young generation.

In China, the young generation has emerged as the driving force behind the economy and the primary market consumers. The post-90s generation has slowly established itself as a pillar of society with stable incomes, with the post-00s generation gradually catching up. The purchasing power of the new generations is steadily increasing, creating unprecedented new market development opportunities. The new generation of consumers is increasingly accepting of the local culture as a result of economic growth and rising national confidence. According to Boston Consulting Group’s Chinese Resident Consumption Trends Report in 2021, 59% of consumers consider their connection to Chinese culture to be very important. Therefore, establishing deep connections with local consumers gives international brands an advantage in the Chinese market.

As an enduring, globally renowned brand, Hennessy has long viewed the Chinese market as being crucial to its brand development. To reach and engage with young consumers in China, Hennessy has adapted its strategy to embrace rejuvenation and localisation, employing a three-pronged approach to cultivate its mindshare among the younger generations. 

1. Connecting with Chinese culture

2023 is a crucial year for the luxury industry as its focus on growth returns to China. Chinese consumers’ pride in their own culture is steadily increasing, and renowned international brands that leverage localisation can gain brand favour and top-of-mind awareness. More international brands are commemorating Chinese culture along with their own legacies, and Hennessy X.O Odyssey launch event in the ancient city of Luoyang is a prime example of a brand’s localisation.
Luoyang, with its profound ancient charm and beauty, is not only the starting point of the Silk Road but also the birthplace of Chinese civilisation. As the capital of thirteen dynasties, Luoyang represents China at its earliest stage and serves as an important historical nod between east and west. Its historical significance is a perfect pairing with Hennessy X.O, a brand with a long and storied history dating back to 1870. During the launch event, guests gathered to witness the global premiere of the film directed by Damien Chazelle projected onto the ancient city walls while dancers moved gracefully to the sounds of the harp and zither.
Hennessy’s long-standing localisation strategy is also reflected in its forays into Chinese culinary culture. Since 2015, Hennessy has partnered with renowned chefs and foodies in the “Rediscover the Flavour of China” project, exploring the connection between local Chinese cuisine and Cognac in multiple dimensions: the gifts of the terroir, the secrets of blending, and the flavours of memories, delving deep into the essence of Chinese culinary arts.
With regards to the harmonious relationship between French Cognac and Chinese culinary culture, as well as the rich potential of their complementary pairing, food documentary director, Chen Xiaoqing, mused at the event that, “Good ingredients, flavours, and time always complement each other — just like the millennia-old delicacies that have evolved through exchanges between the east and the west.” 
2. Rejuvenating the brand through celebrity partnerships
With the economy rebounding, consumption has been recovering, and the overall wine and spirits market in China is experiencing rapid growth from 2023 to 2024 compared to 2022. According to data from iiMedia Research in 2023, the main consumers of wine and spirits industry in China are getting younger, leading to a new transformation in the market. In 2023, the age group of 18–30 accounted for 39.13% of Chinese wine and spirits consumers, showing an increase compared to previous years. According to the 2023 Liquor Industry Trend Insights by Baidu Marketing, the Brandy category experienced a surge in search in 2023. Compared to the same period last year, the search index for Cognac increased by 4.6%, showing a remarkable performance. 
To attract more young consumers, in 2022, Hennessy announced Jackson Wang as its brand ambassador. A versatile talent with a strong fanbase both domestically and internationally, Wang was the first Chinese solo singer to perform at Coachella and also performed the closing act at the 2022 HITC Festival. In April 2023, he returned to Coachella’s stage for the second time and once again represented the power and rising confidence of young Chinese-speaking musicians. In addition to being a singer, he also assumes multiple roles as a producer, creative director, and designer under his Team Wang record label and brand, embodying the bold, innovative, and original spirit that Hennessy values.
In June 2023, Wang made his first offline appearance at a Hennessy brand event with the launch of Hennessy X.O Odyssey in Luoyang. At the event, Wang shared, “As the global ambassador of Hennessy, I am delighted to be here, embarking on a new sensory journey with Hennessy X.O; this is a journey about the past, present, and future. I hope it brings us inspiration and strength to create our unique odyssey.” His presence at the event garnered widespread attention and marked a new step towards the brand’s resurgence, stimulating positive engagement with China’s next generation.
3. Leaning into sustainability
In its journey to connect with young consumers, Hennessy has taken a proactive approach to sustainable development, a key issue that resonates with China’s youth. According to KPMG’s “2022 New Trends in China’s Luxury Goods Industry” report, 30% of young consumers consider sustainable development and corporate responsibility as significant factors in their decision-making process. With Gen Z dominating the majority of mainland China’s population, environmental protection has emerged as a critical factor influencing consumer choices.
In Luoyang, Hennessy X.O utilised 3D-printed technology to recreate the eau de vie. In terms of design, material selection, and production process, the full-surface appearance, treatment, and optimisation of the printing process — as well as the use of 3D-printed materials with high reusability, zero waste, and high printing accuracy — all catered to the brand’s unwavering commitment to environmental sustainability.
As Hennessy X.O’s new chapter is officially unveiled, the brand continues to deepen its market strategy of brand rejuvenation and localisation, solidifying its position as an industry leader. As Benny Ng, President of Moët Hennessy Diageo China said, “Hennessy X.O inherits a century of craftsmanship and remains magnificently outstanding. Life is the greatest odyssey. We hope that the Hennessy X.O Odyssey launch event in Luoyang can foster greater empathy and resonance among Chinese consumers.” 


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