The funny tale of Dos Equis’ ‘Most Interesting Man’ Campaign that started almost as a joke but became iconic
Karl Lieberman & Brandon Henderson were college mates and then creative partners at Euro RSCG in 2007.
They had been working with the Mexican beer brand Dos Equis for some time now and they were bored with it. They had been churning creatives after creatives. The brief was “Authentic Mexican Beer”. They had taken the authenticity route for a while.
Someone in Heineken (they were importing the beer into the US and marketing it) decided that the brand was not going anywhere and something needed to be done about it especially the advertising.
For some creative inspiration, both Karl and Brandon were asked to go to Mexico for a week. However, when they landed in Mexico, they lost their way to the hotel from the airport and were put off by the whole experience. They were to visit various parts of Mexico which they did not do and were holed up in the hotel.
Once they came back, they were asked to present fresh creatives to the client. They were asked if they have something new, which they did not! Their boss told them that they needed to, otherwise, the repercussions would not be good.
At the same time Caroline Krediet, an account planner was working on a new strategy for the brand. Since Corona beer, their main competition was about being laid back, she decided that Dos Equis would be about adventure which led to the idea of the Dos Equis drinker being more interesting.
Caroline went to a bar on a date with someone. Her date was ‘bullshitting’ his way through someone else’s story as if he had done the deed. The other guys did not seem to mind it and rather enjoyed the story.
Caroline realized that for the 20 something age group especially males, it was important not to be boring.
Hence the thought
“Dos Equis is for people who lead more interesting lives”
Karl and Brendon were not particularly enthused by the brief Caroline sent and could not relate to it. However, they managed to catch onto the caricature of the “bullshitting’ person exaggerating the truth for comic effect. They were also indirectly making fun of the brief Caroline sent.
Both of them were obsessed with a song by Brand Nealy which exaggerated the exploits of George Washington (and a funny one) and influenced by a Saturday Night Live script with Bill Brasky.
The script they wrote was accepted within the agency but with reservations. One of the agency creative directors told the duo and given the quality of the script, they would be a team so- so!
The duo started with print ads. They also thought of a crisp tagline – Stay Thirsty My Friends but their creative director then Jeff Kline did not think it was good enough and suggested some additions to the line. Karl and Brandon had reached a point that were ready to accept whatever was given to them. They wanted it done with.
They then went on to have a fun time doing creatives spoofing their behaviour.
Truth be told, both Euro and Jeff Kline, in particular, did not have a good time with Dos Equis especially executives & distributors till Willem Jan Van der Hoeven, a Dutchman came in.
There was a lot of scepticism within Heineken when Euro presented. Points of worry were ‘old model’, the model stating that he drinks beer sparingly etc.
In parallel, the casting had started, Jonathan Goldsmith was one of the actors shortlisted. The only thing going against him was his age, till his representative told the casting director “how can the most interesting man in the world be young’? He got the part!
The films were made and shown to CCM, Mexico (the parent/ owner of Dos Equis). And all hell broke loose!
Even when the films were shown at the distributor conference, the films
But the Heineken team stood by the creatives especially the CEO and CMO. It went into research. It became the best-tested campaign ever in Heineken.
With the findings as support, the films went to television in mid-2007.
Do Equis became the single fastest-growing beer in North America.