There's a new Pharrell song, but you've never heard it—and you never will. Set for release in the year 2117, the composition was recorded for future generations, but there's a chance they'll never hear it, either.
That's because the song, a creative partnership between the 10-time Grammy Award-winning artist and French luxury cognac brand LOUIS XIII, exists exclusively on one clay record stored underground in a specially designed safe destructible only when submerged in water. If sea levels continue to rise, scientists predict a portion of the world's land—including the Cognac region of France where the spirit is sourced and Pharrell's song is stored—will be underwater in 100 years.
That informs the name of both the song and the campaign, "100 Years," which urges humans to consider their collective impact on the environment, the long-term consequences of climate change, and the delicate relationship between nature and time. The original song premiered to a small group last November at a private listening party in Shanghai; the rest of the world will only hear it upon its release a century from now, LOUIS XIII says, "if we care."
Following the Shanghai premiere, LOUIS XIII took its message on the road with a series of regional events benefiting local environmental charities, including a stop in Houston earlier this month—sans Pharrell, but plus Slim Thug. Hosted by philanthropic Houstonians Kathryn and Colby Swain and Whitney and Marc Lawson, the private event here took place at Rice University's Moody Center for the Arts and benefited Hermann Park Conservancy.
Guests tasted the famous liquor made by generations of cellar masters from Grande Champagne in France's Cognac region since its origin in 1874. The spirit is produced by the House of Remy Martin, and its name was chosen as a tribute to King Louis XIII, who reportedly encouraged the sale of eau de vie under his reign.
The "100 Years" campaign is the brand's latest in a series of environmental efforts, beginning 14 years ago with its entry into the U.N.'s "Global Compact" and the subsequent development of programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, minimize its carbon footprint, and further sustainable production practices.
"As a company, we must do the best we can eery day to make the world a better place," LOUIS XIII global executive director Ludovic du Plessis said. "This is not about one city or one country, but the future of our planet as a whole. Our concern is not primarily for Cognac, but for every city around the world."