This is indeed the end of an advertising era: Dos Equis beer is retiring The Most Interesting Man in the World™. For nine years, actor Johnathan Goldsmith has reigned as alcohol advertising’s most successful, most entertaining, most meme-ified, and yes, most interesting spokescharacter. His reign has been a singularly effective one for Dos Equis, increasing case shipments by about 35%, and making the brand a central component of Heineken’s growth. To draw the curtain, Dos Equis is saying goodbye with a 60 second commercial, sending him off on a on-way trip to Mars. “His only regret… is not knowing what regret feels like.”
Please note, he does not appear to be going alone….
The combination of ad campaign and actor were lightning in a bottle. The ads, especially in the early years, were entertaining montages of the sly and the surreal. They were the kind of ads that kept your finger off the fast-forward button on your DVR, and would even make you reach for the rewind to go back. In the modern age of TV advertising, this characteristic is a pearl beyond price. The ads veered from solid life advice (“Men, if I can count the change in your pockets, it had better be there to pay your tailor.”), to high adventure rescuing bears from traps and foxes from hunts, to clever word play (“His charm is so contagious, vaccines have been created for it.”) to the frankly impossible (“If you saw him walking a chihuahua, it would still look masculine.”). And all the way, it was impossible not to smile. And Goldsmith’s rugged, indefinably exotic, aged-like-good-scotch looks made it all work, and seem, if not believable, satisfyingly coherent.
Another bonus for Dos Equis was how meme-ifieable the character is. And the memes almost never cast The Man in a negative light, which is a bonus.
But while the story has a happy ending, with The Man off to Mars with his blonde co-pilot, I’m not sure it is going to end well for Dos Equis. Yes, the campaign has grown stale. After nine years, it would be a miracle for it not to. So it may well be time to move on to the next thing. But Dos Equis is moving on to… a new Most Interesting Man in the World. Apparently the new Man will be a much younger one to let millennials identify….
You never catch lightning in a bottle twice. Try something new.
Don’t always go for the reboot. Buy when you do, don’t screw up the characteristics that made the original work.
See what I did there?
When Dos Equis cast Goldsmith originally, they were looking for a much younger man. But Goldsmith’s agent convinced them that The Man not only could be older, he had to be.
Here’s the hard truth, Millenials, (Do I need to say Trigger Warning before hard truths? Yes? Too bad.) you are not interesting. Sorry. It’s not your fault (most of you). But you haven’t been around long enough to have seen and done enough to be interesting. You can be smoking hot. You can be funny. You can be passionate. But you are not terribly interesting. Call us later.
Dos Equis says their main concern is that “…people see the character and Jonathan as the same person. Hopefully as we evolve the campaign, they’ll get over that.” Yes, that will be an issue, but one they can work through. They are professionals. But if they go with a young man, the new campaign will die on the vine.
I understand that millennial hipsters are self-centered narcissists who think they are the only people who matter. Every generation is that. If you want to go with a millennial spokescharacter, fine. Go for it. But make it a different character. If you want to make a new Most Interesting Man in the World, that is also fine. There is a lot of gold to be mined from the changeover, at least, though I have my doubts that changing the actor will reinvigorate the writers. But make sure the new Man is old, old enough to be believably Interesting.
Regardless, the new Dos Equis ads are a ways down the road. For now, let’s go pick up a six-pack of Dos Equis, and raise a glass to Johnathan Goldsmith’s Most Interesting Man in the world. The only way they could give your title to another man was by sending you to another planet.