I was sad to learn about the end of the "Most Interesting Man in the World" campaign and decided to take a little time to reflect on why I liked it so much. It was an amazingly effective campaign and also great fun.
In my opinion, everything in these ads worked, but there are some key takeaways that we shouldn't forget as the character flies off to Mars.
Show, Don't Tell
Every ad in the campaign shared a pseudo-flashbacks from the characters life. Through these images, we got to know him as libertine, a traveler, and a friend to pretty much everyone. Yes, there was some great writing but it was the visual storytelling that made us believe in the character.
I'm convinced the line,"His beard alone has experienced more than a lesser man's entire body." started the hipster beard craze.
I can barely speak English, so speaking French in Russian is pretty impressive to me. I especially love that he's rescuing a fox from hunters in one of the early shots.
Keep the Story Going
The campaign consistently produced new spots to keep us engaged. You got a sort of memoir of the character that provided background and made it clear why he was so interesting. Of course, the success of the campaign made it easier to keep producing new material, but the key thing is that it never started to feel stale.
Mix it Up (a Bit)
There was definitely a structure to the ads with the intro "facts" about him, the montage, and then the closing statement. But there were also the shorter commercials with him sharing little bits of wisdom.
Mixing in these sidebar conversations gave the character more definition and made him even more interesting.
The Most Interesting Man in the World was played by a pretty interesting guy. Jonathan Goldsmith, was an actor with a long resume including several westerns and tv appearances. Getting cast as the Most Interesting Man in the World was his big break...but it almost didn't happen.
Here's the story from an NPR interview he did in 2015
He arrived at the audition and, to his surprise, was surrounded by hundreds of young, Latino actors.
"The line is out into the street. And I said, 'Oh boy,' " Goldsmith says. "If they're looking at these Latino guys, I better put on an accent."
The voice of the late Argentine-born actor, Fernando Lamas, instantly popped into his head. The two were sailing buddies and good friends, and Goldsmith had perfected an impression of him.
"So I thought about him and how funny he was and how charming and a great raconteur, so I put on my best Fernando imitation," Goldsmith says. "And they started laughing."
Barbara received a call from Joe Blake, the casting director. He told Barbara that they loved Goldsmith's performance, but they felt like they had to go younger.
"And in her infinite wisdom, she took a long pause and she said, 'Joe, how can the most interesting man in the world be young?' " Goldsmith says. "He said, 'I'll get back to you.' "
Soon after, the casting director called back. He got the part. It was Goldsmith's big break.
"At a time where many of my friends who have had far more credits than I have, were in the twilight of their career, it just started for me," he says.
"It only took 50 years. An overnight success."
I probably wouldn't be writing this post if Dos Equis had chosen a younger guy. The commercials worked because Goldsmith looks like someone who's seen the world and can tell you some great stories.
"Mosquitos refuse to bite him simply out of respect."
Know Your Voice (Over)
We'll remember the character's suave faux-South American accent, but I think the voice work and writing for the voice overs was another key element. Every line was delivered iin a tone that suggested we were hearing something very important. That tone and the clever writing made every fact about the character more funny and memorable.
The Right Ending
After 9 years of success, you'd hope the campaign ended on a high-note. And it did. Dos Equis has given the story a fitting end with the Most Interesting Man blasting off on a one-way trip to Mars. This final commercial shows the impact of the character's fictional life with people from all over the world coming to wish him farewell.
It's a compliment to the brand and the campaign that they gave the character a fitting sendoff. It lets them close this chapter in their advertising on a high-note while also giving fans a bit of closure.
I can think of few ad campaigns that worked so well for me. The ad campaign was so effective that I actually became an occasional Dos Equis drinker. The beer never became a staple, but the campaign increased my brand recognition enough that I remembered it and ordered it whenever I was at a bar with a limited selection. The fact that the campaign caused me to try a new product and change my buying habits is a testament to how great it was.
I'm going to miss these commercials, but I'm optimistic that something equally good will come along from Havas or another shop soon. In the meantime, I hope that this little review gave you some laughs and some ideas.
Stay Thirsty My Friends.
Do you have a favorite from this campaign? Share you favorite Most Interesting Man commercials in the comments along with why you like them.