When Dos Equis debuted its “Most Interesting Man In The World" campaign in 2006, it stood in direct opposition to the prevailing trend in beer advertising.
The use of humor was, of course, nothing new, but rather than featuring a protagonist similar in age to the targeted consumer group of the product — young adult males — the titular hero was a man well into his 60s, with the TV spots doling out his fictional (and patently absurd) exploits that occurred over a lifetime.
The gamble worked, and Dos Equis’ ad campaign (which was created by the agency Euro RSCG, now known as Havas Worldwide) — despite some complaints that the “Most Interesting Man In The World” was a bald-faced ripoff of the “Chuck Norris Facts” meme (which itself was derived from a Vin Diesel-centric meme, so one supposes we have Vin Diesel to thank for all this?) — went on to become one of the most highly regarded ones of the 21st century, lasting for nearly a decade.
As then-Senior Brand Director Paul Smailes told Ad Age in 2012 of the logic behind using an older protagonist, younger beer consumers would not "see him as a threat or as a reminder of accomplishments they hadn't achieved yet," but instead that they "needed to be someone to work toward, versus a mirror of themselves."
So, of course, now Dos Equis is killing its highly successful hero.
Well, it’s not killing him; it’s launching him into space, never to be seen again.
Heineken USA (the parent company of Dos Equis) debuted the Most Interesting Man’s “retirement” spot on television last night (March 10), marking the final commercial in which Jonathan Goldsmith, the 77-year-old actor who has played the character since its inception, will ever appear as the face of Dos Equis. In the ad (titled “Adios Amigo”) that closes the book on Goldsmith’s portrayal, the “Most Interesting Man In The World” says his goodbyes to a number of supporting characters that appeared in the campaign throughout the years then boards a rocket ship that carries him off on a one-way trip to Mars.
Why the change?
According to comments made by Heineken USA that Ad Age shared earlier this week, essentially: the defining element that made the “Most Interesting Man In The World” campaign stand out amongst ads from competing beers — that it featured an old guy? The brand has apparently decided that old guys are all gross and old, and they are, therefore, recasting the character with an actor who will (more than likely) be a cool millennial that looks like the cool millennials who drink beer.
In other words, Dos Equis is taking the complete opposite tack to what made the campaign a hit in the first place.
The move is arguably an unfortunate downturn for creativity in retail advertising, as the very brand that found success among highly coveted young male consumers by not talking down to them, essentially, but instead presenting them with an aspirational (albeit firmly tongue-in-cheek) narrative, such as the one Smailes had spoken of, is opting to do what just about everybody else in the young consumer marketing space does and saying, "Look at this guy on the TV. He looks like you. You’re great! You buy our stuff now, yes?"
The ads featuring the new (yet-to-be-cast) “Most Interesting Man In The World” will kick off during the College Football Playoff in the fall, and, as Heineken USA Chief Marketing Officer Nuno Teles told Ad Age, "If you just plug the current campaign in the context of college football, there is something there missing.” Describing the current version of the campaign as "looking backwards," Teles opined, "You need something a bit more contemporary and something a bit more in today's world."
In other words, Heineken USA considers itself to be “thinking outside the box,” which is a corporate approach so platitudinal as to have long ago become what is arguably the most “inside the box” cliché imaginable.
Teles stated that research showed that Dos Equis “could go further with the campaign … become more active ... more present-day.” And, of course, the brand is seeking to build the campaign into digital content that it hears all the kids love so much.
Based on Teles’ description, the next “Most Interesting Man In The World” might turn out to be Poochie.