Case Study: How Martell brought sexy back through its marketing mix

As consumer mindsets now become even more fragmented, brands are constantly finding new ways to engage with them to keep things fresh and exciting. Unfortunately, the Cognac segment has been seen to be "stuck" in a time capsule with its uppity balloon-glass imageries.

In the mean time, other brands have progressed to other more modern, “sexy” drinking mixers. Competitors have had on-going high profile product launches and innovations to generate excitement among the trade.

This post was done in conjunction with Sumo Eleven which won Best Idea – Business Events category during the recent MARKies Awards in Malaysia.


Martell – which has been historically strong in the traditional "yam-seng" outlets patronised by mature clientele – was losing ground at the urban, trendier drinking joints and concurrently, losing appeal with younger drinkers.


The brand decided to reignite the interest of the trade with the new Martell NCF and bring "sexy" dynamism back to Martell as the choice drink among new generation of drinkers.

The new Martell NCF – a non-chill filtered cognac packaged in a cutting-edge designed bottle with light-reflective metallic copper coating that radiates and glows in the dark under UV lights – provided the ideal opportunity to reignite the interest of the trade.


To reach younger consumers, the company looked for opportunities in High Energy Outlets (HEO). Its strategy was to surround the whole drinking experience by working hand-in-hand with the trade at all stages – from pre-launch: introducing the new drink to key decision-makers and opinion leaders as well as generating buzz among drinkers, to post-launch: providing outlets with new, sexy serving and drinking experiences.


The brand created "Martell Light Up Assets" specifically to take advantage of Martell NCF’s unique properties which enabled the trade to present a more modern, sexy drinking mixer – new drinking rituals, new on-site experiences.

1. Light Up a New Experience: A first-of-its-kind in the region, Martell transformed a dilapidated shipping dockyard into a high-energy dance club for one night. Attendees used the MartellLight Up app to officially launch Martell NCF and light up the night with motion sensors in a light tunnel.

2. Light Up the Taste: A new drinking ritual was unveiled with the Martell Ice-Pool - a two-tier tray that has shot glasses positioned on the top tier with mixers on ice below, followed by a pull of a tab and all the shot glasses drop into the mixers.

3. Light Up the Clubs: "Martell NCF Invasion Parties" were rolled out. Key HEOs identified were ‘invaded’ by Martell exclusively for one night with a battle of an all-female DJ crew and performances from internationally acclaimed electro bands.

4. Light Up mySelf-ie: A "Martell Copper Mapping Imagery" camera enabled a person’s image to be mapped onto the copper bottle of Martell NCF for that unique picture, to amplify social sharing interaction moments among drinkers.

5. Light Up the Streets: Another first in Malaysia was the "Martell Light Up Trucks", a see-through truck with a DJ spinning high-energy music streamed on Facebook Live was driven around major entertainment hotspots to promote the upcoming "Martell NCF Invasion Parties."


It successfully reignited the interest of the trade for the new Martell NCF.

  • The brand achieved half of the targeted financial year sales volume within one month of launch.
  • Increased interest from HEOs with a six-fold increase in outlets signing up for ‘Martell NCF Invasion Parties’ after its first month roll-out.
  • Re-engaged the younger drinkers with a growth in Facebook followers between 21 to 35 years old representing over two-thirds of its fan base.