ON LOCATION: The number of Chinese travellers is expected to accelerate in 2024 – an apt development for the year of the dragon, which is considered the luckiest and most auspicious of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac.
It comes as no surprise that duty free and travel retail stakeholders are pulling out all the stops to impress shoppers with dynamic Chinese New Year (10 February) activations and the striking campaign by Hennessy, which launched at Singapore Changi Airport on 10 January, is a powerful example.
TRBusiness was on location for the grand unveiling of the pop-up in Terminal 1, along with senior executives from Moët Hennessy, Changi Airport Group and Lotte Duty Free, as well as trade media and KOLs.
“Echoing Hennessy’s latest campaign, ‘Together, we are unstoppable’, I would like to thank again the Lotte Singapore team, Lotte Korea team and Changi Airport Group for an amazing collaboration over the years,” said Vanessa Widmann, Managing Director Travel Retail Asia Pacific Moët Hennessy.
“We have such a strong partnership – Changi Airport is the right place for Hennessy to host the largest Chinese New Year pop-up in the Asia Pacific region during the festive season.
“Moët Hennessy sees airports as unique places to showcase our brands and to engage a diverse group of consumers.
She continued: “Here in Changi Airport, we have invested in flagship shop-in-shops. First in Terminal 1, behind the pop-up, and most recently in Terminal 3.
“It shows our dedication and engagement in creating unique experiential spaces for different groups of consumers – the cognac connoisseur but also the new consumers, into the world of fine cognac.”
“I am very proud and excited to share with you the collaboration between Maison Hennessy and the award-winning Chinese artist, Yang Yongliang, whose digital art piece – the dragon – inspired the limited editions we have launched for Chinese New Year.
“Also in this pop-up, we hope you will be surprised and delighted by the different experiences we are offering here. Number one is a new way of tasting – a molecular pearl tasting.
“The second is a multi-sensorial experience of Hennessy to help you discover your favourite Hennessy products.
“The third is the wishing tree. We hope and ask that you spend time discovering those experiences.
“With the Hennessy spirit of being untouchable and unstoppable, trust me that this is only the beginning of many other campaigns, many other products innovations and many other ground-breaking consumers experiences to come.”
Limited edition Chinese New Year collection
The beating heart of Hennessy’s Chinese New Year campaign is the specially commissioned artwork by Yang Yongliang.
The Chinese digital artist, who specialises in the design of mythical creatures, has combined traditional drawings with digital art, which breathe ‘life, movement, energy and fire’ into a collective of metallic dragons dancing in and out of waves.
The detailed artwork has a three-dimensional element that brings out the texture of the dragon’s skin and teeth.
This can be seen on digital elements at the pop-up as well as at the shop-in-shops in T1 and T3 (which opened in November 2023 and stretches approx. 45 sq m).
At the T1 pop-up, the visual effect is amplified by the huge fibreglass dragon that weaves its way around the various elements – a design feat that has been many months in the making and meticulously built, scale by scale.
The associated cognac collection is comprised of limited editions for three of Hennessy’s most famous liquids: V.S.O.P, Hennessy X.O and Hennessy Paradis.
Each bottle features a colour that ‘embodies the aspirations of the New Year’ – red for joy and luck and gold for prosperity – with art by Yang Yongliang.
Shoppers making purchases of X.O and beyond are able to take advantage of a number of personalisation elements across the touchpoints, including the ‘Hennessy Hands’ bespoke leather bottle neck adornments and luggage tags featuring a chosen initial, as well as bottle engraving.
“This year’s tagline is ‘Together, we are unstoppable’, and we are reaching out to our customers to celebrate Chinese New Year,” explained Kelvin Chua, Education and Training Manager, Moët Hennessy Asia Pacific.
“As it is the year of the dragon, we can input some wishes on the bottle. This engraving service takes less than two minutes.”
Molecular pearl tastings and a multi-sensorial experience
There’s also myriad sampling opportunities, including the innovative molecular pearl tasting.
This involves being handed (on a golden spoon, no less) a seaweed jelly ‘pearl’ containing a sample of a cognac cocktail.
It pops in the mouth to release the liquid and the experience can be enhanced with chocolate tasting to bring out the flavours.
The hi-tech Hennessy multi-sensorial experience is one of only two in the world (the other is in Macau).
Via the interactive screen, it invites users to select a scent to be dispersed, and then to choose a soundtrack based on mood, which can be felt through vibrations.
All of this helps individuals to pinpoint the Hennessy cognac that’s most suited to their tastes.
With its dynamic design and roster of engagement tools, the pop-up provides shoppers with a highly memorable luxury experience that’s sure to capture the attention of both new and seasoned cognac fans embarking on their travels over the festive period.
The carefully thought-out design is a clever complement to the experiences that can be enjoyed in the shop-in-shops, serving to elevate the overall Hennessy brand experience for Chinese consumers at this important time of year.
The influence of Hennessy’s Chinese New Year campaign extends beyond Singapore, with an additional four pop-ups launching at other airports in the region (details to come).
While Changi is the largest site, each will feature some similar elements, including a version of the standout oversized dragon.
The Hennessy Chinese New Year collection will be available at selected travel retail locations across Asia Pacific.
Stay close to TRBusiness for more details, including further comment from Moët Hennessy, as well as Changi Airport.