Ad Nut
Jan 18, 2021

Heritage cognac brand asks Chinese youth to spread their wings

Pernod Ricard's Martell Noblige reinterprets an old symbol for a new generation of potential customers in China and beyond.

Can a French cognac dating back to 1715 find success among today's young people in China? And to do so, would it have to completely redesign its brand?

Martell Noblige doesn't believe that's the case, so the brand—in a new campaign from BBH—is instead trying a bit of semiotics. The work takes an existing brand symbol, a stylised bird found on every bottle, and assigns it a new meaning by positioning it in opposition to the Chinese idiom 枪打出头鸟 (The bird that stands out gets shot down).

Martell's bird is a species called the swift, so the campaign urges young people to 'Be a standout swift' by taking risks and following dreams. The campaign includes a manifesto (above) and separate films (below) featuring fashion designer Angel Chen, esports professional Li Xiao Feng (aka Sky) and singer/actor Chen Kun. The films were shot by Wing Shya.

Louis Cheng, brand director of Martell (Pernod Ricard China):

As a brand steeped in tradition but with a receptivity to modern values, we are looking to engage the next generation of Chinese consumers by encouraging them to be audacious and chart their own destiny.

Kelly Pon, chief creative officer, BBH China:

The swift has adorned Martell’s products for centuries and is inextricably linked to the brand. We wanted to build on this legacy and develop a new tagline that connects the symbol of swift to our target audience’s desire to play by their own rules and actively push the culture forward.

The campaign launched at the end of December in China and will reach Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong in January. Lasting over four months, it will also include social, digital, outdoor, in-store and press. 


BBH China
Managing Partner & Executive Chairman, Publicis Groupe China: Arto Hampartsoumian
Chief Creative Officer: Kelly Pon
Executive Creative Director: Yinbo Ma
Associate Creative Director: Louis Li
Copywriter: CK Shan, Vincent Xing
Business Director: Joanne Liu
Associate Account Director: Emelyn Tan
Strategy Director: Tobias Wacker
TV Executive Producer: Weisian Lee
Print Producer: Ken Wang
Studio: Jiayi Yu

Production company: Smooth Production

Pernod Ricard China
VP, Marketing: Yann Soenen
Brand Director: Louis Cheng
Associate Brand Director: Tiger Wang
Senior Brand Manager: Selin Yin
Brand Manager: Dita Ouyang
Assistant Brand Manager: Keira Dong

Martell Mumm Perrier-Jouët
Marketing Director: Richard Black
Style Director: Axelle De Buffévent
Global Creative Content Director: Aurélie Torre
Global Creative Content Senior Brand Manager: Elaïs De Bastard, Shirley Mabiletja
Global Creative Content Marketing Manager: Kerry Fazal
Head of Visual Design: Sophie Delannoy

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