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Why Did a Beer Company Kill This Man?

    Everyone loved him. So they killed him.

    Doesn’t make sense, does it? Read on.

    He was debonair, he was charming, and though he didn’t always drink beer, when he did, he preferred Dos Equis.

    What a gift this ad campaign was! It made a formerly regional beer (mostly Texas and Cali) into a powerhouse brand. All it took was a rugged man sitting at a table reciting one of the softest sells in recent memory.

    Even the one line of dialogue shattered conventions.

    I don’t always drink beer. Ever hear someone say they don’t always use the product being advertised? Wow.

    If that weren’t brave enough, he then says “I prefer Dos Equis.” Not that he must have it. He prefers it. What a gentleman! With his savoir-faire demeanor and astonishing tales of past derrings-do, The Most Interesting Man in the World, played by actor Jonathan Goldsmith, caused sales to shoot up 34 percent. At the same time

    mass market beer sales declined four percent. Through the advertising and nothing else, they achieved nearly a decade of double-digit growth. Ker-ching!   Everyone loved the ads. The campaign coined one of the best comic lines ever in a commercial: “Sharks have a week named after him.” Memes clogged the internet, and supercuts of all the commercials were and are on YouTube. So what did Dos Equis do for an encore?

    They killed the man who laid the interestingly golden eggs.

    It was a typical story. A CMO decided, without any evidence to support it, that the brand needed a reboot. This genius said they had lots of ideas about where to take the concept. “It happens to be the case that we found a way to make this campaign even more interesting.” More interesting than The Most Interesting? Is that possible?

    Not exactly. The “reboot” wound up being the exact same idea, only with a younger man, 41-year-old Agustin Legrand.

    That’s it. That’s what they did. Same thinking, different guy.

    Consumers responded by rushing to buy beer—from competitors. Dos Equis’ sales went south.

    Apparently they couldn’t relate to the younger guy having all these adventures. He didn’t have the gravitas of the bearded and gravel-voiced Goldsmith. Youth doesn’t always equal sales. So, in March of 2018, the company parted ways with the young Interesting Man. Perhaps not coincidentally, at the same time Heineken, which owns Dos Equis, parted ways with the CMO.

    Since then, the brand has tried several new ideas for their ads—first the bland Keep It Interesante and now the horrible Get a Dos, a lame play on “Get a dose.”

    Don’t cry for the Most Interesting Man, though. Goldsmith has gone over to a tequila brand and seems to be quite happy. Imagine how happy the Tequila brand is to pick up all the equity Dos Equis spent millions building up, for free! And Goldsmith still drinks Dos Equis, which he says he really does prefer.

    He was surprised by the decision to end his character. “I thought, if the campaign was so successful, double-digit growth each year for nine years, why not wait and change later? I was sorry that they did that. I understand that all things come to an end, but I thought the timing of it was ill-advised…”

    What an understatement. The Dos Equis campaign was still in the prime of life. Even its own market research agreed!

    There’s a vital lesson here: When you chase shiny new objects (in this case, the always-hyped “youth market”) the costs can be real, and they are measured in dollars. In this case, lots of ‘em. The same thing happened, back in the late ‘90s, to Little Caesars. (More on that later.)

    But it’s too late for Dos Equis. All it takes is the wrong person in the CMO chair and boom – adios to millions.

    Think about who you listen to.

    Stay thirsty, my friends.

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