In 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?”
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.