300 years of Martell

A journey through the history of the oldest great Cognac house

What better way to celebrate your 300th birthday than with a jaw-dropping visual feast that encapsulates your history and looks to your future? The prestigious Cognac brand Martell turned to the award-winning Parisian production company, Mécanique Générale to produce “a journey through 300 years of history, the personalities of the Martell family, and the brand skills”.

“This is a new genre of historical realism with several levels of reading. A heritage Odyssey in the cultural sense, both spatial and emotional,” Mécanique Générale founder Emilie Rouault tells us. The iconic French Cognac brand predates the birth of Napoleon and the epic scale of the animation certainly reflects this rich heritage. 300 years are condensed into a little over 90 seconds – it’s the type of distillation Jean Martell himself would be proud of.

We spoke Emilie about this latest project.

The Plus: How was the narrative of the video established?
Emilie Rouault: After a collaboration between the archivist of Martell heritage and the agency, we selected the most relevant aspects to build the story around. The tangle of historical facts, of the family’s personalities and know-how came together harmoniously, and were realised through our experience of animatics.

TP: How did you choose the right style?
We did not choose, we had to invent a new model and that was the challenge! How do you represent as much information as possible in 1:30 without being daunting or redundant?
The idea was to find a script which crosses history through a series of more or less immersive scenes, according to the importance of the information you want to present and the emotions you want to evoke.

TP: The video really takes the viewer into a thrilling story, how was this effect created?
This was part of the challenge. The emotion comes from this amazing blend of a burnished, baroque aesthetic and deft, dramatic camera movement. This combination induces a paradoxical sense of heritage and modernity.

TP: Mécanique Générale has won many awards. Which one are you particularly proud of? Is there any award you’re hoping to win one day?
We are proud of the oldest pieces such as the work we did for PlayStation and Mir Black because at the time it took a lot of courage to venture on such projects.
But we are also extremely proud of our newer projects like Innocence en Danger, which is both a very creative and relevant project, in terms of the the direction of the campaign but also on the artistic and technical side of things.
We are always thrilled to get recognition from within the industry. It’s important to acknowledge the role of the whole team in our success.

TP: Do you drink cognac yourself?
Of course! How else could we imagine such a journey?