After roughly nine years, the brewer of Dos Equisbeer has decided maybe the world’s reigning “Most Interesting Man” isn’t so interesting anymore.
As a result, the tan, suave, impressively bearded “Most Interesting Man in the World” is about to embark on his final journey over the next few months before fading into the pantheon of advertising icons.
But the man, who jaunts around the world on enviable adventures while often surrounded by beautiful women, certainly made life more interesting — and successful — for the previously under-the-radar Mexican beer brand.
Dos Equis, owned by Amsterdam-based brewer Heineken, nearly tripled its business since the campaign was introduced, says Andrew Katz, vice president of marketing for Dos Equis. In the past year alone, sales of Dos Equis Lager Especial grew 10.2% to $325.3 million in the 52 weeks ended Jan. 24, says market research firm IRIWorldwide. The number of cases Dos Equis shipped between 2007 and 2015 grew by 34.8%, according to the company. Heineken estimates that about 25% of its future growth will come from the Dos Equis brand, helped by its appeal to the growing population of Latino men.
Though the specific character played in TV ads by veteran actor Jonathan Goldsmith, 77, won’t be back, another equally interesting and likely younger man will take his place, Katz says. Dos Equis plans to revamp the popular commercials in order to keep their edge for a new generation of customers.
“Culture has changed very dramatically” since the commercials debuted, Katz says. “Our Millennial drinker has changed quite dramatically, and the competition has only exploded with the advent of craft (beer). We just want to make sure that the (Most Interesting Man) story evolves.”
Besides catapulting a relatively small brand into the minds of beer drinkers, the Man developed a cult following. The campaign debuted regionally in 2007 and went national in 2009, quickly taking over the Internet and pop culture by inspiring Most Interesting Man Halloween costumes and endless memes riffing on The Man’s tagline, “I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis.”
Fans have co-opted the phrase to relate to even the most mundane life events: “I don’t always finish a bottle of shampoo, but when I do, I leave it in the shower for the next two months.” Numerous compilations have sprung up to chronicle the myriad one-liners that explain what makes the Most Interesting Man so interesting. Sample: “Sharks have a week dedicated to him” and “Presidents take his birthday off.”
Goldsmith tells USA TODAY that the character has succeeded for a simple reason: He “made millions of people smile over these many years,” he says. “There is a real connection with the fun and authenticity of the character, which I portray with the same joy and passion that is part of my own life.”
And he has sold millions of dollars worth of suds. The character was hatched as the craft-beer craze was emerging, helped later by the genre’s appeal to Millennials. Sales by the case of craft brews increased 11.5% in the 52 weeks ended Jan. 24, while domestic beer case sales grew just 0.6% in the same period, according to IRIWorldwide.
Working in Dos Equis’ favor, though, is that imported beers are also becoming more popular, with case sales up 9.7% in the past year. Within the category, Dos Equis sold 8.1% more cases of its Lager Especial than in the previous 52-week period and was the fourth most popular beer behind Heineken, Modelo Especial and Corona Extra.
Mexican beers are responsible for much of the growth in imported beer because “they are oftentimes considered more premium and appeal to both the growing Hispanic-American population and consumers looking for a slice of paradise,” according to a report out from Euromonitor last year. “Mexican beers have an aura of vacation and relaxation that appeals to many U.S. consumers.”
What has made Dos Equis ads so successful is that they are both unexpected and aspirational, says Allen Adamson, a marketing expert and founder of Brand Simple Consulting. Dos Equis created a character “every guy wants to grow up and be like,” Adamson says. “They went out and did something quirky. It has broken through and helped Dos Equis go from a regional brew to a big brand.”
Dos Equis is releasing almost no details about the new campaign, only that a different actor will take over as Most Interesting Man later this year. The ads will keep their core identity, though.
Dos Equis knows that change can be divisive, which is why the brand along with the creative agency behind the ads, Havas, have spent the last year and a half thinking about the campaign’s next move, says Jim Hord, Havas’ executive creative director. The first potential hazard: “I think people see the character and Jonathan as the same person,” he says. “Hopefully as we evolve the campaign, they’ll get over that.”
But first, Dos Equis will ride Goldsmith’s departure for the next several months. The brand has plans for a social media campaign leading up to Cinco de Mayo using the hashtag #adiosamigo and will distribute life-size cardboard cutouts of Goldsmith to grocery stores and bars for fans to pose with. The brand will also give customers the chance to win some of the Most Interesting Man’s possessions, like his mariachi suit, plus a grand prize trip to Mexico. Then, it will be time to move on.
“We’re viewing this as an opportunity to bring new users along with us,” Katz says. “To bring younger drinkers into the franchise who can better relate to a different Most Interesting Man in the World.”
Written by Hadley Malcolm of USA Today
(Source: USA Today)