The Most Interesting Man in the World Is No Longer Interesting

In 2006, Dos Equis beer launched an ad campaign featuring “the world’s most interesting man” — a campaign that ran for 10 years and had an undeniable impact on sales, some reporting an increase of 22 percent while other imported beer sales fell 4 percent in the U.S.

Dos Equis Most Interesting Man in the WorldIn 2006, Dos Equis beer launched an ad campaign featuring “the world’s most interesting man” — a campaign that ran for 10 years, and it’s had an undeniable impact on sales with some reporting an increase of 22 percent while other imported beer sales fell 4 percent in the U.S.

It’s not surprising that the campaign resonated. It was clever, and the situations “the man” found himself in were outrageous, far-fetched and humorous. From surfing a killer whale, to slamming a revolving door, to “speaking French … in Russian,” to finding The Fountain of Youth but not taking a drink because “he wasn’t thirsty,” the campaign always elicited at least a smirk from the men in my household.

At the end of every TV spot, the most interesting man in the world would face the camera surrounded by several beautiful woman and comment, “I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis … Stay thirsty my friends.” The actor, Johnathan Goldsmith, was bearded, silver-haired and exuded sexual charm, despite being in his 70s. In fact it was his age that made his adventures believable!

But in the spring of 2016, Dos Equis announced that Goldsmith would be retiring from the role by sending him on a one-way trip to Mars. I was devastated. Did some focus group tell Dos Equis that Goldsmith didn’t resonate with Millennials? Were sales on the decline and the campaign was seen as no longer relevant?

That doesn’t seem to be true because Dos Equis has now launched a new campaign and has replaced Goldsmith with a younger version. But instead of being outrageous, far-fetched and humorous, the new TV spots are just plain dumb. But don’t take my word for it. My Millennial sons actually made the observation first.

The most recent spot, “The Most Interesting Man Spices Things Up,” has our hero in a competition of who can eat the spiciest pepper. After both take a bite, his competitor’s eyes bulge and sweat pours off his forehead; our hero simply smiles.

“Wow. They’ve missed the point!,” lamented my son. “We watch YouTube videos of people eating spicy things to see what happens to them … what’s interesting about a guy who has no reaction at all?”

Indeed.

A trip to YouTube shows a mere 323 views of this newest commercial, posted over 2 weeks ago. Another spot, posted 6 months ago, got 95,000 views. In comparison, one of the historical spots with my man Jonathan racked up 3.5 million views.

What is interesting is that Heineken’s share price (Dos Equis’ parent company) started dipping in the middle of 2016 … right around the time the old campaign ended. Another research report by YouGov shows that consideration of purchase among Millennials fell from 18 percent in November to 8 percent in December.

It’s just one more example of a brilliant marketing idea gone terribly awry. That’s the only interesting part of this story.

Author: Carolyn Goodman

A blog that challenges B-to-B marketers to learn, share, question, and focus on getting it right—the first time. Carolyn Goodman is President/Creative Director of Goodman Marketing Partners. An award-winning creative director, writer and in-demand speaker, Carolyn has spent her 30-year career helping both B-to-B and B-to-C clients cut through business challenges in order to deliver strategically sound, creatively brilliant marketing solutions that deliver on program objectives. To keep her mind sharp, Carolyn can be found most evenings in the boxing ring, practicing various combinations. You can find her at the Goodman Marketing website, on LinkedIn, or on Twitter @CarolynGoodman.

21 thoughts on “The Most Interesting Man in the World Is No Longer Interesting”

  1. I could not agree more. The old guy was manly and charismatic. The new guy looks malnourished, scruffy, and like one of the least interesting men in the world. Also, “I don’t always drink beer, but when I do” was the line that made it all work, and now I don’t hear it in the new spots I have seen.

    1. The original Most Interesting Man wasn’t even a committed beer drinker. How brilliant is that!

  2. Perhaps they should have transitioned to the new guy with one of those “Doctor Who” re-generations. It couldn’t be any dumber than the way they’ve handled it. I loved those commercials. Even though I don’t drink bear, the brand is imprinted in my brain now. If I’m buying for a party, I’ll always include it in the assortment. What a shame.

  3. There is a saying among courtroom lawyers, when it appears you are winning with a judge…”Don’t kick down an open door”-in other words, keep your mouth shut and don’t argue with success.

    1. Exactly. I keep wondering who ended the relationship… Dos Equis or Jonathan? It seems Jonathan has gone on to do other gigs, so it can’t be HIS age that’s holding him back… or, perhaps it’s like most HR issues, nobody seems to want to keep paying the old guy…

      1. Could be. Age discrimination certainly exists, but given the unique role he played in the promo, I don’t think that fully explains it. To me it looks more like marketing malpractice-replacing the “control” without first testing the replacement…

  4. This is another case of the client getting tired of their advertising campaign and throwing it out no matter what the consumer response has been. I’ll never understand this kind of thinking, but yet I’ve seen it time after time.

    1. Yes…it’s a chronic problem. It seems a new VP Marketing responsible for the Dos Equis brand entered the scene in November, 2014… just 15 months later, our hero was retired. Just sayin’…

  5. Nice píece Carolyn.

    Perhaps what happened is like what happens today in so many companies; they pushed out the old guys who knew what they were doing and filled their marketing department with a gaggle of over-paid and under-experienced millennials who ‘knew better’ and decided to do things their own way. (See my recent article on ‘mentors’.)

    The urge to deconstruct seems to be everywhere. Dare all these geniuses ask themselves what you do after you deconstruct? How do you rebuild?

    1. Thank you! And I think your observation is probably dead on. I did a little digging on the VP of Marketing and as I note in my response to @douglaskelly:disqus, a new one came on and boom! Jonathan was out of a job and sales are on the decline.

  6. Show of hands: was it ageism that dropped the amazing, original, most interesting man? I think so.

      1. I guess you’re not “doing something about it” unless you’re doing. Some. Thing. But this was the wrong thing to do!

  7. Great article. All comments have a lot of truth to them. Maybe Johnathan had gotten too old to be the spokesperson because we do age. But it sounds like it is the new creative team that is missing the mark. The one way trip to Mars is a unique exit, but what if he came back (from Mars) as a younger more interesting Johnathan? Aliens can do strange things to us, we are told. With some really good new creative. Just sayin…

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