NY agency creates global Pacquiao ad

/ 10:46 PM April 12, 2012

Martin Scorsese directed hugely acclaimed films like “Taxi Driver,” “Raging Bull,” “Good Fellas,” “The Departed,” “Shutter Island,”  and this year’s Oscar nominated “Hugo.”

Erykah Badu is known for her cerebral music style. Oftentimes, she is called the “Queen of Neo-Soul” music.


Manny Pacquiao is…  Who doesn’t know him?

All three icons star in Hennessy’s “What’s Your Wild Rabbit?” ad campaign, the brand’s return to TV advertising after a five-year hiatus.


Launched last month, it is the largest marketing investment by the world’s number one cognac brand in its 247-year history.

According to folklore, rabbits run wild in the French Cognac region. Though the animals are rarely seen, stories have been told that they drive people to chase for success.

Chasing a wild rabbit is about pursuing your dreams, never tiring no matter what the difficulties are, never giving up even when the doors have been seemingly shut and life has almost knocked you down completely.

Many stories have been told about Manny Pacquiao’s humble beginnings, a harsh life of debilitating poverty after his father left his mother for another woman.

Life as a construction worker, janitor, cigarette vendor, bakery helper, bread peddler, he did many other menial odd jobs to keep body and soul together.

He ended up in the boxing ring, a brutal life maiming his opponents at every mandatory countdown. A devastating knock out during his early boxing career almost exterminated the Manny Pacquiao we see today.

But life has a way of rewarding back those who keep on walking, err, running.


Directed by Johnny Green, the Manny Pacquiao part is about his wild rabbit chase, condensed into a gut wrenching 90-second spot, of grit, determination and something to mull over long after the last boxing bell had fell into deafening silence.

It is not by luck, nor by any chance that the new Pacquiao commercial came out as an inspiring advertising.

It was handled by no less than David Droga, founding chair of Droga5, last year’s Cannes Lion Outdoor Grand Prix winner and past competition head of jury.

Together with his equally stellar Executive Creative Director Ted Royer, he made sure it would be.

Both Droga and Royer were frequent Manila visitors during the mid-90s as part of their regional roles, overseeing Asian Saatchi and Saatchi agencies’ creative output.

Global TV commercial

The ad begins with a dramatic close up shot of young Pacquiao (great casting) in an outdoor setting.

Cutting interspersely between a wild marsh and lahar desert, the opening scene establishes him as a metaphoric hunter, running after the proverbial wild rabbit.

A rabbit in a tropical country like ours? Don’t blink you might catch it, but it doesn’t matter if it’s a real or not, the chase is symbolic enough.

The juxtaposition of scenes into Pacquiao’s frenetic training is beautifully executed. The camera chases him, too, as he pounds a desolate road on daybreak.

Chronicling his difficult life in GenSan seems accurate, the local color is authentic, and the writers, indeed must have done good research.

The trophies sitting on a wooden shelf under a roof of a shoebox house evoke so much pathos.

The foreboding flock of sparrows roosting for the night, darkening the skies is a cinematic gem.

“It’s almost too beautiful to be considered  ‘advertising’ says, Fil-Am creative director Joel Villaflor on his Facebook wall.

The wannabe-Pacquiaos queuing in a local boxing gym, inspired by Pacquiao’s life story are beyond words.

Seeing the Manila MRT line captured in Hollywood filmic-quality makes you smile.

The cut-to-cut of Pinoys from all walks of life, cheering from an over populated alley, a jam-packed cockpit, a billiard hall … to millions of homes across the nation tell you something: we’re a one big united country without a doubt.

Climactic scene

Pacman, the raging bull trains like mad. The knock out machine is power-packed solid at the punching bag, punch-for-punch, blow-by-blow, hard hitting to the core.

Soon, he is ready to rumble. We are transported to Las Vegas’ Madison Square Garden as the world watches. We get a glimpse of Pacman as a human being, fervently praying by a small corner.

Pacquiao wins his tenth world title in eight different weight classes. As he raises both hands, the ad cuts back to his long and lonely journey in slowmotion, making the moment an emotional powder keg.

Certainly, director Green knows how to squeeze more tears from the audience.

“Fighting the fights that really matter. That’s my wild rabbit,” Pacquiao says, as he peers from a window of his palatial home.

You’d want to see the ad over and over again, whether you’d been battered by life or born with a silver spoon in your mouth, or simply love a great inspiring ad.

New York agency Droga5

David Droga is listed as one of advertising’s “Ad Geniuses” who began winning Cannes Lions at age 22.

He led Saatchi & Saatchi’s Asia operation, based in Singapore and made the agency the best in the world in 1999.

He was executive creative director (ECD) of Saatchi London when the agency was named “Global Agency of the Year” in Cannes in 2002.

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TAGS: Advertising, Business, erykah badu, Manny Pacquiao, martin Scorsese
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