By The Drum, Editorial

December 6, 2023 | 5 min read

Hennessy, The Trade Desk and L'Atelier have won the Programmatic Media Partnership category at The Drum Awards for Digital Advertising. Here is the award-winning case study.

With its rich legacy and exceptional blend dating back more than 250 years, Hennessy isn’t just a cognac brand – it is a company that embraces different cultures and communities.

In 2021, Hennessy became the first global spirits partner for a well-known professional basketball league, a move that signaled their joint desire to foster camaraderie through entertainment. A year later, to commemorate this milestone partnership, Hennessy rolled out a global marketing campaign. It was designed to celebrate the brand’s legacy and invite a new generation to experience its ‘Never stop, never settle’ ethos.

In Australia, promotions included a ‘Hennessy Floating Basketball Court’ on Sydney Harbour. The local brand team saw a big opportunity to leverage the partnership to launch an advertising campaign with an ambitious objective: driving upper-, mid- and lower-funnel results.

Specifically, the team wanted to:

• Increase the brand’s reach in Australia cost-effectively

• Lift conversations across multiple channels

• Accurately measure the impact of the ads during the campaign.


Hennessy and its agency, bespoke GroupM firm L’Atelier, had previously run campaigns on multiple channels separately. Recognising the need to gain a holistic view across all channels and optimise their campaigns through programmatic advertising, Hennessy and L’Atelier turned to The Trade Desk to help deliver a full-funnel campaign.

To achieve Hennessy’s objectives, the campaign team at L’Atelier and GroupM’s programmatic buying unit, Assemblage, devised and implemented the following strategies, with advice from The Trade Desk.

Develop engaging ads and an omnichannel campaign to extend reach: The campaign team used a combination of display, high-impact rich media, online video (OLV) and local broadcast video on demand (BVOD) channels across the open internet. To efficiently reach the target audience across these channels, Australian and global creative teams produced a range of engaging display and video ads based on the basketball theme. The ads were delivered across the channels programmatically via The Trade Desk’s platform.

Use first- and third-party data to enhance targeting: The campaign team leveraged first- and third-party data for audience targeting. This included shopper data from Unpacked by Flybuys, for audience targeting – a market-first audience data and online-and offlinesales measurement partnership between The Trade Desk and Flybuys, Australia’s most popular loyalty programme, which connects to Australia’s largest retailers, like Coles and Liquorland. This targeting was further optimised using KoaTM, The Trade Desk’s artificial intelligence tool. Hennessy and L’Atelier were able to leverage the granular insights into their metrics provided by The Trade Desk’s platform, enabling them to identify which ads were most effective – in terms of both branding and campaign performance – in near real time.

Take a flexible approach to budget allocation to optimise ad spend: Throughout the campaign, the Assemblage team worked with The Trade Desk to analyse the data, unlock deep insights into campaign performance and provide recommendations on optimisation strategies. With these recommendations, Hennessy took a flexible approach to the allocation of its campaign budgets. This allowed the campaign team to continually optimise its ad spend by shifting budgets from lower-performing to high-performing formats and creatives on the fly.

Use integrated third-party solutions to measure and optimise performance mid-flight: To understand the campaign’s impact on brand awareness, the team conducted a brand lift study using a panel-based measurement solution from The Trade Desk’s partner, Lucid (a Cint Group company). A key aim was to measure how the frequency of ad views impacted brand awareness. The study identified the level of frequency and type of ads for optimal brand uplift. This enabled the team to set precise frequency goals and caps across multiple channels to boost brand awareness while optimising ad spend.

To further optimise campaign performance, the team tapped into the attention intelligence platform Playground XYZ through its partnership with The Trade Desk. This platform measures the length of time consumers look at an ad in seconds. It is trained and verified by eye-tracking data from consenting users, and utilises AI to measure audience attention times at scale.


By managing the omnichannel campaign holistically using The Trade Desk platform’s programmatic capabilities, the campaign team was able to significantly increase Hennessy’s reach and conversions in Australia. The Trade Desk’s measurement tools, such as its search and social impact report, enabled the team to track the impact of the ads across channels.

To illustrate just some of the outstanding results, the campaign: • reached an additional 530,000 unique individuals • reduced the cost per reach by 15% • increased the conversion rates of search and social ads by 327% and 293% respectively when consumers were exposed to programmatic ads delivered through The Trade Desk.

The Trade Desk’s path to conversion analysis revealed dramatically reduced times to conversion when consumers were exposed to multiple channels. For example, they were 58% faster to make an ‘add to cart’ transaction on Hennessy’s consumer-facing website when exposed to ads on two or more channels.

The Lucid brand lift study also provided some illuminating findings. For example, it showed a 5% increase in purchase intent among consumers exposed to the video ads at least 10 times.

Playground XYZ revealed the campaign achieved strong increases in attention time across all strategies – including a 30% uplift with Super Skin Luxury Contextual ads.

Overall, Hennessy’s first programmatic omnichannel campaign in Australia was a resounding success, delivering outstanding results across the full funnel – and a favourable impact on sales.

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