- Hennessy U.S. is teaming with the NBA for a campaign in support of minority small business owners, per a company press release. The effort is the first between the NBA and the cognac brand, which became the league's global spirit partner earlier this year.
- "Make Moves That Start Movements," created with Droga5, will seek to leverage the NBA's 30-team community to provide assistance for Black, Asian and Latinx small business owners that experienced worsened inequities as a result of the pandemic. The campaign features league-specific activations and began last week during the NBA Playoffs before rolling out to broadcast, digital and social channels.
- A spot titled "Take It Far" promotes the partnership and highlights diverse creators and leaders including NBA star Russell Westbrook. The effort sees Hennessy tapping into the marketing power of a professional league to both widen its audience and expand a COVID-recovery initiative it launched last year.
Hennessy is activating its ties to the NBA with a multichannel campaign geared basketball fans, while also supporting Black, Asian and Latinx small business owners, building on its Unfinished Business initiative the brand launched last year. While small businesses in general have suffered as a result of the pandemic, those owned by people of color have been more likely to take drastic efforts to stay afloat, according to Business Majority data cited by Forbes. Moreover, these same businesses have had a harder time accessing federal COVID relief, according to a Brookings report, deepening previously existing inequities. For a brand in which Black consumers account for a majority of sales, Hennessy is continuing its efforts toward helping these communities.
The campaign launches during the NBA playoffs, a crucial time of the season and one that draws a high number of viewers. This timing reflects the cognac brand's strategy to leverage the NBA's large and dedicated fan base in order to grow its own. The campaign also will feature league-specific activations, including local auctions and social giveaways of NBA memorabilia. Hennessy's effort to expand its base mirrors those of Mtn Dew, which is the official soft drink of the NBA.
"We created the 'Make Moves That Start Movements' platform with the core NBA fan in mind," Jasmin Allen, senior vice president of Hennessy U.S., told Marketing Dive.
"What the NBA brings us is the opportunity to engage with our target consumer base but also be able to connect with people who may not be in our target."
A commercial, "Take It Far," complements this effort by spotlighting diverse creators and leaders, reflecting recent efforts by other brands. Directed by entrepreneur Joshua Kissi, the spot features basketball star Russell Westbrook, community activist Alex Taylor and artist Victor Solomon, and depicts the journey of a basketball from bedroom to the court and beyond, striking key themes of universality and inclusion that consumers want to see from brands. The spot will appear in 30-, 15- and six-second installments on linear TV, digital channels and social media, as well as on alcohol delivery sites ReserveBar and Drizly.
Hennessy is one of a group of companies including COVID-recovery efforts in their marketing. Anheuser-Busch unveiled this week digital vaccine trackers in an attempt to get more people vaccinated, and last month McDonald's used its Times Square billboards to spread similar vaccine awareness.