THE RESURRECTION OF A SUPERSTAR
Largely uncelebrated today, Marshall ‘Major’ Taylor was once the most famous athlete in the world—not to mention the most controversial. He rode for something greater than himself, and in 1899, he became the first African American citizen to win a world championship in any sport.
Major, Hennessy’s most integrated Wild Rabbit campaign to date not only brings Taylor’s name back to prominence, it illustrates the story of a man without equal, a singular champion determined find a true rival.
Teaser film inspired by an old photo of Taylor and Scorcese’s title fight entrance scene from Raging Bull
Marshall ‘Major’ Taylor being a bad ass.
Before the automobile, the bicycle was king.
Cycle racing was the world’s most popular sport and
fans packed velodromes by the thousand
to see one man reign supreme.
His name was Marshall ‘Major’ Taylor.
A seven-time world record holder.
A world champion.
The Worcester Whirlwind.
The Black Cyclone.
He won everywhere he went.
The U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia.
He won fame and forunte.
But he was still searching for one thing.
A true rival.
Concepted black and white photography for Hennessy V.S point-of-sale advertising.
After recreating Taylor’s bike for the shoot, we designed a modernized racer for the public with the help of Brooklyn’s Affinity Cycles.
Nas dropped the VO for TV cutdowns.
After learning of a damaged Major Taylor monument marker in the champ’s birthstate, we got artist Kadir Nelson (known for his gorgeous New Yorker covers) to atone with a bronze Major Taylor bust.
If you want to learn more about Major Taylor, please check out his self-published autobiography, The World’s Fastest Bicycle Racer. His story in his own words. A true hero and true legend.