The Best Ad You Will Never See

This ad will be locked away for 100 years.
This ad will be locked away for 100 years.

It takes a lot for advertising to be truly groundbreaking these days, when sensationalism basically drives the market. But the marketing masterminds at Louis XIII Cognac have definitely pushed the envelope with their latest ad. Of course, we’ll have to take their word for it.

To promote Louis XIII’s 100-year aging process, the company decided to create a full-length feature film starring John Malkovich. Fittingly called “100 Years,” the movie is meant to be set in the “present” (that is, the future present) and embraces ideas of a collapsed post-computer society much like you’d expect to find in science fiction of the 1950s.

The catch, though, is that no one who’s alive today will ever see this movie, because it’s being sealed in a vault in France until Nov. 18, 2115. An elite group of 1,000 individuals will be hand-selected to receive a shiny metal movie ticket that they’re instructed to pass on to their heirs, who will in time be able to see the movie that their parents first heard about. Instead of popcorn and coke, we have to imagine that they’ll be snacking on French delicacies and sipping the Louis XIII that was casked the same year that the movie was vaulted. Theoretically, these descendants of influential tastemakers will also inherit a lifelong brand loyalty to Louis XIII.

Why It’s Already an Advertising Success

It has all the hallmarks of a buzz-generating marketing campaign: exclusivity, originality, star power. And even though the ad itself, which is the movie, will not be revealed in this lifetime, the advertising for the ad is getting a great deal of coverage and will give the brand tremendous exposure in the meantime. It’s so secretive that even the images and videos being used to preview the movie don’t actually show footage from the film itself. In addition to promoting the movie, the ads promote the fact that the bottles on shelves as of 2015 are from batches stored in 1915. The idea is that the people drinking from them today should feel the same sense of awe and elitism that those who get to watch a 100-year-old movie will feel.

There’s no way to know what kind of attention this stunt is going to merit in 2115. But it’s definitely doing a good job of piquing curiosity today, and spreading a key message for the brand.

But hey, this delayed gratification thing worked for Sleeping Beauty: After she slept for a century, she awoke to claim her royal heritage. Why can’t the same be true for Louis XIII?

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