Ad Nut
Dec 1, 2021

Cognac brand Louis XIII eschews inclusivity to celebrate exclusivity

A new global campaign by Fred & Farid Los Angeles makes it abundantly clear that your chances of enjoying this high-end brandy are next to zero.

Sometimes it is really enjoyable to break the rules. Not important ones, like public-safety rules around Covid, but unwritten rules around industry practices, such as those in advertising.

Advertising has long been about selling things, usually the more the better, in which case mass appeal, promotion and volume sales usually go hand in hand. In recent years especially, advertising has also become more about demonstrating brand purpose. 

So most ads we see today are about how inclusive and purposeful a brand is, which is meant to convince you to buy its products. 

Then we get this ad (above) from Louis XIII cognac, which tells us about a product so exclusive that neither you nor Ad Nut will ever get the chance to buy or enjoy it. 

That's right. In an ode to 'Scarcity', Louis XIII has not merely launched N°XIII, a very limited edition of 200 decanters of cognac, but has done a masterful job—in a film by Fred & Farid Los Angeles, directed by Christine Yuan—of explaining just how low your chances are of ever placing such nectar of the gods on your lips. 

Ad Nut won't be a complete spoiler, but the number you will see in the film is very, very low. While astronauts and movie stars might still aspire for a sip, given how they've bucked the odds so far in reaching their dreams, the film pretty much dashes everyone else's hopes. 

Louis XIII says the product comes in a bottle that is "hand-blown, hand-cut, hand-engraved and hand-decorated" by "exceptional ancestral French craftspersons in Cristallerie Saint Louis in Alsace" using a "secular process mastered since 1586". This achieves a "vibrant hue" that can only achieved using this secret process, which "requires the addition of gold and requires a minimum of 16 artisans to create". It is a tribute to "'artisanat of art'—the craft of art—and the time it takes to achieve greatness". 

You really have to 'hand' it to them—they go all out to make the exclusivity exponential here. And remember, all of the above hype is just about the bottle, not what's in it. 

Yuan says, “As with fine art, the intention was to preserve the timeless quality of N°XIII while elevating the message of rarity that makes the decanter so special.”

While the brand says it is taking a stand against "scaling up, industrialization and mass production", Ad Nut can't help but notice how it really runs against the desire of nearly all brands to be seen as inclusive to everyone. 

And guess what? It's oddly refreshing and effective.

Ad Nut is rankled at times when luxury brands pretend their overpriced accessories are saving the whales and embuing shared values of friendship around the world, when they're more often bought to keep up with friends or gain status advantage on them. The Louis XIII film is only being honest about who and what the product is about.  

Of course running a global campaign for a highly limited product seems counterintuitive. But Ad Nut cannot help wondering what the delectably distilled liquids in that decanter must taste like. By telling us we cannot have it, they make us want it. And if Ad Nut can't enjoy N°XIII, there still is curiousity about its other cognacs. 

Now we're returning to good old marketing principles after all. So maybe scarcity and exclusivity isn't such a new advertising tactic. But it feels like a while since we're heard it in a global campaign. 


Client: Leonardo Ferracina, LOUIS XIII Executive Director
Client: Ingrid Gnanadicom, LOUIS XIII Head of Digital Communications
Agency: FRED & FARID Los Angeles
Chief Creative Officers: Fred & Farid
Creative Director: Nicolas Berthier
Business Director: Peter Jacobs
Agency Executive Producer: Amanda Van Caneghem
Production Co: Object & Animal
Director: Christien Yuan
Director of Photography: Xiaolong Liu
Executive Producers: Emi Stewart, James Cunningham, Justin Benoli Line Producer: Jake Agger
Production Designer: Tyler Evans Stills Photographer: Dan Forbes Editorial: WORK Editorial
Editor: Kid Sister
Assistant Editor: Andrew Balasia VFX: BEMO
Color by: AFX Creative
Colorist: Derek Hansen
Original Music by: Ali Helnwein
Voice Casting and Record: benzēne
Sound Design + Mix: One Thousand Birds
Sound Designer + Mixer: Jackie! Zhou
Additional Sound Design: KT Pipal
Executive Producer: Guin Frehling

Ad Nut is a surprisingly literate woodland creature that for unknown reasons has an unhealthy obsession with advertising. Ad Nut gathers ads from all over Asia and the world for your viewing pleasure, because Ad Nut loves you. You can also check out Ad Nut's Advertising Hall of Fame, or read about Ad Nut's strange obsession with 'murderous beasts'.


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