Royal Salute’s ‘Horsemanship’ Short Film Builds Out From Polo Sponsorships

High end whisky brand Royal Salute brings to life its in-depth support for polo and reaches broadly beyond the sport into the world of horsemanship with a new film fronting its ‘Stories of Power and Grace’ initiative.


The beautiful and considered creative aims to explore the emotional connection between ‘man and horse’ by drawing equestrian parallels between brand ambassador and polo superstar Facundo Pieres and horse whisperer Jean-Francois Pignon.


Working with agency Synergy, the whisky brand has released the first in a series of films entitled ‘Stories of Power and Grace’ – focusing on the grace and beauty of the horse and human/horse relationship.


The film follows the human/horse interaction between both the the Argentinean polo player and the French horse whisperer with low-motion imagery, that cuts between on-field action of polo field to the wild landscapes and aims to explore the mutual bond and trust they both have with their animals.


The campaign kicked off with a pre-launch teaser,



before the roll out of the 3-minute 40-second main film.



This was also accompanied by a ‘Making Of’ behind-the-scenes online film which runs to almost five minutes.



‘Power and Grace perfectly sum up the style of Royal Salute whisky and extend to create an engaging story about the powerful bond between man and horse,’ explains Neil Macdonald, global brand director for Royal Salute.


The objective behind the campaign from the Chivas brothers brand is to further enhance the current relationship between the luxury brand and the equine world and to communicate the brand’s philosophy and values (built around nobility and leadership) both within and beyond the elite world of polo.


Pignon, 46, had his first horse at 13 whilst he was being raised on a farm in West France. Now, in addition to having his own stables in Calvisson, he is a well known author and actor and appears as a horse handler in several movies.


While established Royal Salute endorser Pieres, 28, is currently the world’s second highest ranked polo player and comes from dynasty of star polo professionals.


He has been a Royal Salute world ambassador since 2012.


‘This is a great new way for Royal Salute to communicate. They took two very different men and their relationship with their horses – a horse whisperer from France, and me,’ adds Pieres.


‘We’ve just been shooting some slow-motion imagery. When you capture a polo horse in slow motion, it looks amazing. These animals are superbly trained and well looked after and in close-up slow motion you can really see what beautiful athletes they are. You can see their speed, power and strength but also their grace, balance and elegance.’


Neil Macdonald, global brand director for Royal Salute said: ‘Power and Grace perfectly sum up the style of Royal Salute whisky and extend to create an engaging story about the powerful bond between man and horse.’



The Polo Player and Horse Whisperer film is the first in a series – each of which looks set for at least one month of activity that includes teasing, trailer, full release, making of and accompanying editorial.


While local markets are able to run their own connected content based around specific local events, this is essentially a campaign in its own right that aims to be rooted in polo but reach beyond the sport to take the brand to a broader audience.



Continuing the current trend for long form ads, this film aims to use right, premium storytelling content to cut through and engage a high end audience both within and beyond the polo community.


In its first two weeks, globally the online film is heading towards one million YouTube views and boasts impressive ‘like’ ratings.


The Pernod Ricard premium whisky brand was created in 1953 as a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II on the day of her coronation, Royal Salute takes its name from the 21-gun salute and the whiskies are matured for a minimum of 21 years.


The brand has always emphasised its roots in nobility – from hosting experiential events in the Tower Of London to its choice of ‘the sport of kings’ as its main sponsorship focus.


In recent years it has worked closely with the polo world – both through endorsers, its long term partnership with the independent charity Historic Royal Palaces and via polo event sponsorship.


Pieres signed up with Royal Salute in December 2012 after leading his team Ellerstina to victory against La Dolfina at the 119th Campeonato Argentino Abierto de Polo.


Back in July Pieres fronted a more traditional premium brand global ad campaign for the brand shot by critically acclaimed and renowned photographer Chris Jackson (who has worked on many royal polo events).


Royal Salute sponsors some of the world’s most prestigious polo events across America, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East.


Its partnerships include:


  • Argentina Campeonado Abierto de Polo, Palermo, Buenos Aires
  • Australia Sydney Gold Cup, Sydney and Portsea Polo, Victoria
  • Brazil Sentebale Royal Salute Polo Cup, São Paulo and Copa Ouro São José Polo. São Paulo
  • China Royal Salute China Open, Beijing
  • India Royal Salute Maharaja of Jodhpur Golden Jubilee Cup, Jodphur
  • Italy Polo Gold Cup, Cortina d’ Ampezzo
  • South Korea Royal Salute Polo Cup, Jeju
  • Spain Snow Polo, Baqueira, Lérida and Sotogrande, Cádiz
  • UAE Royal Salute Nations Cup, Dubai
  • USA Foundation Polo Challenge, Santa Barbara and Royal Salute Jubilee Cup, Greenwich, New York
  • UK The Sentebale Polo Cup, Coworth Park, Kent & Curwen Polo Club, London And Beaufort Polo Cup, Tetbury



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