Trivialised by stereotypes, aged spirits are typically depicted in the hand of 60-year-old male businessmen who drive Jaguars and appreciate sipping on their drink in solidarity in their office which overlooks the cityscape.

To mark its launch in South Africa, Martell Cognac knew it was imperative to quickly discover & appeal to the right audience. A real cohort of drinkers which represents South Africa and the success of its present & future, yet maintain it’s premium and regal status.

“It’s Easier to keep up than to catch up” – Socrates


Transcend South African’s with a sensory experience which epitomises and embodies the luxurious quality of Martell Cognac’s beginnings.

Commercial Objective
Increase total sales of Pernod Ricard products by establishing effective foundations in emerging markets

Marketing Objective
Launch the Martell brand, and quickly establish its values, in South Africa

Communications Objective
Offer discerning cognac lovers an experience which embodies Martell Cognac’s spirit of French “art de vivre”

Social Objective
Create awareness & desire by infultrating influential and aspirational social feeds with Martell Cognac


South Africa’s middle class is constantly changing.

A category formally dominated by white-skinned, grey-haired brown-suits has reached a halt with a new wave of colour, wealth, culture & cool taking to the driver’s seat (not literally, of course – it’s alcohol afterall).

But how do we create a timeless attraction with the our tranforming audience? And be perceived as desirable, despite being new and completely unknown in the South African market?


South African are creative people. We have a rich culture, style and unique taste – aspects we belive we’re are born with, yet continue to mature with time & respect when recognised in others.

The original Martell House was founded in 1715, at the very height of the French Art de Vivre movement- a culture that infuses every detail of life with know-how, creativity and substance. This was a period of time in which gastronomy, tasting and craftsmanship were all celebrated and enjoyed with style.

Marking its 300th anniversary, and these qualities are hallmarked and resonates true & pure with our target audience. By celebrating the beginnings of Martell, we would be celebrating it’s new beginnings in South Africa.


Strategic Platform

The art of living

Creative Territory

A sensory experience to transcend you

Campaign Idea

1715 – The House of Martell x Martell Cognac


To mark its launch in South Africa, Martell Cognac presented 1715 – a pop-up bar/lounge concept featuring the country’s hottest DJs, most glamorous chefs, and finest cognac for 6 weeks only.

We were to pull out all the stops to celebrate such a legacy, with attention to detail and aesthetics at every touch point for attendees – before, during and after leaving the location.

Located on the ground floor of the Sandton Eye (below the Radisson Blu hotel) in the upmarket suburb of Sandton in Johannesburg, 1715 by Martell Cognac opened its doors to the public on Saturday 17 October and ran until 21 November 2015. It was touted as the place to be for the Johannesburg jet set, where the city’s ‘who’s who’ could enjoy the world’s no.1 Prestige Cognac House.


Reservations & Bookings

The menu and evenings entertainment were supplied via a beautifully sleek website and payment gateway, for details of the event, tailored packages, meal-types, alcohol of choice & reservation of tables.

For one of the most tasteful evenings of the year, it were essential to offer a first-impression fitting for this calibre event.



Bespoke décor elements, spaces, installations and sensory journey of 1715 by Martell were designed to immerse guests into the ‘illustrious history’ and opulence of the brand.

Digital installations have been created to engage guests with the Martell Cognac experience & history through design features where the goldenl iqueur river playing a pivotal thread through it all.

Every experience endeavours to excite all the senses; the dining area features the Martell Cognac ‘Pluie’ – a bespoke design feature that engages sight and sound. This uniquely designed electronic ‘piano’ is activated by cognac ‘rain’ that falls gently from the ceiling to create harmonies that set the backdrop for a languid lunch.


Food & Entertainment

Vicky Crease and Caro de Waal, two of South Africa’s biggest names in the food world, were the culinary masterminds behind the cognac paired food experiences at 1715 by Martell Cognac. Luncheons were hosted by the Martell Cognac brand ambassador.

Not only could guests enjoy a bespoke menu designed to complement the unique flavours of the cognac, but they also had an opportunity to learn more about the finely crafted Martell Cognac range.

A line-up of South Africa’s top entertainers serves as the perfect complement and backdrop to your meal & cognac pairing experience. Your evening’s host and acts included Euphonik, Just Mo, Glen Lewis & legend, HughMasekela – allowing us to trigger a deeper emotional connection with our target audience and create a modern, yet regal perception of the brand.


Tthe idea behind 1715 by Martell Cognac is to amplify the experience with unexpected and entrancing installation pieces. The illusory and transient quality of these, as part of an opulent sensory journey, elevates this venue/concept into the realm of the extraordinary, while effectively getting the core message across — Martell Cognac, the oldest of the world’s great cognac houses, has arrived in SA.



Inviting celebrities, influencers, press & high-profile guests to the opening nights’ events, we profited greatly in earned media establishing Martell as a distinguished cognac for any occasion looking to had a special touch.

By reaching the right audience and creating an instant demand for reservations amoung Sandton’s finest to savour the Martell experience and bottle range, #MartellCognac1715 was trending on the public’s opening night, creating social media buzz for the 6 weeks of the experience and even long after.

Press & Radio Articles
Sold Out Weeks
Growth in Africa/Middle East

Client: Pernod Ricard / Martell
Agency: Publicis Machine
Creative Director: Jake Bester
Head of Digital: Andy Gilder

Head of Development: Johan Steyn
UX & Strategy: Mick Valentine
Art Direction: Joshua Foster / MW van der Walt
Developer: Mick Valentine / Gareth Cozens
Copywriter: Jake Bester / Kenneth Van Reenen