THE MOST INTERESTING MAN IN THE ADVERTISING?
As the faithful fan of the weekly screed knows, we here at the Mountaintop Marketing Fortress are big fans of Jonathan Goldsmith.
We've previously discussed the success of The Most Interesting Man In The World.
The famous and much-parodied campaign for Dos Equis beer was everything one hopes a good ad campaign will be: entertaining enough to become a meme while producing results enough to make the brand a smash.
It's also safe to say the campaign rivals "Got Milk" for the number of stupid parodies being used by other advertisers. Just recently, we heard a local radio station do a lame parody that said, "I don't always listen to radio, but when I do..."
BUT HOW SUCCESSFUL WAS GOLDSMITH'S CHARACTER?
Yes, the world can be entertained.
But are people buying the product?
Hard numbers for the success of the Dos Equis campaign are difficult to come by. But by all accounts, it has been a raging success.
Various reports peg the results at anywhere from a 22% sales increase in the US (in a time when imported beers sales are slumping), to increasing Dos Equis sales 300% in Canada.
So, why did they shoot Goldsmith's The Most Interesting Man In The World into outer space last year?
Why did they replace him with giant and less-interesting Augustin Legrand's Most Interesting Man In The World?
That, friends, is anyone's guess.
SURE, THERE ARE EXPLANATIONS FROM PARENT HEINEKEN
An article in Advertising Age from March 2016 quotes the USA's Chief Marketing Officer for the parent company saying, "If you just plug the current campaign in the context of college football, there is something there missing."
He said that the then-current version of the campaign is "Looking backwards...You need something a bit more contemporary and something a bit more in today's world."
The article then went on to comment how The Most Interesting Man In The World campaign was an odd fit for, say college football.
The article concludes with the CMO saying that research had revealed that, "We could go further with the campaign--if we would become more active" and "more present-day."
AH, THE POWER OF RESEARCH
Research is used to justify all kinds of proactive steps that don't seem to make sense.
One of the first and most useful things I ever heard about research came in a marketing meeting from a radio program director.
He was talking about doing research to determine the programming direction for the music station in his charge.
The first thing he said--or at least, the first thing I remember--is this: Research is never predictive.
Yes, in a way, it sounds like he was trying to get off the hook in case his programming decisions failed.
But here's the important take away: you truly can never predict how people will behave tomorrow based on what they did or said yesterday.
Speaking as a guy who's heard people say, "I'd buy that!", and opened a business selling that, and nobody bought it, I get it. What people will do is never predicated on what they say.
AND WHAT WAS THE BEER CMO SAYING?
Basically, that their research had predicted the change for Dos Equis was good.
Getting rid of Jonathan Goldsmith and replacing him with that French guy and making the stories more contemporary would sell more beer to more people.
Go ahead. Ask your friends how they feel.
"Nah, he's not as interesting."
Cut to the beginning of June this year, and Dos Equis is changing advertising agencies.
Usually, that means that the advertising isn't working.
But it sounds like the advertising is indeed working--just not as well as they want.
Sales are still up for the younger but less-interesting Most Interesting Man In The World.
But sales for Corona and Modela Negra are up higher. People are finding their beach and looking for beer brewed with a fighting spirit.
SO MORE CHANGE IS GOOD, RIGHT?
We don't know.
We're just disappointed.
We miss the wit and personality of the Jonathan Goldsmith edition.
And it's one of those classic advertising legends where the guys who created the campaign admit they were clueless. They developed the idea half an hour before the meeting, figuring they'd never sell it.
All they were doing was making themselves laugh.
BUT WHY ARE WE EVEN TALKING ABOUT THIS?
Because, Mr. Goldsmith is back.
Not for Dos Equis.
And not as The Most Interesting Man In The World.
He's back looking a lot like that most interesting guy.
A Mexican-tinged guitar is heard playing in the background.
He has some gorgeous women sitting with him in a dark room.
Liquor is poured into glasses.
The glasses clink together.
And Señor Goldsmith says, "I told you, I don't always drink beer." He toasts to you through the camera. "Astral. Tequila."
A FINE LINE BETWEEN LIQUOR ADVERTISING AND LAWSUITS
Astral Tequila has not crossed the line that could get them into trouble, but they are dancing right on it.
And while it's nice to see Mr. Goldsmith back in his most interesting chair, it's just a gag.
We really can't see it continuing.
But as regards flipping the bird to a previous advertiser, it's so much more preferable than the now long-running Sprint campaign featuring Paul Marcarelli, Verizon's former Can You Hear Me Now guy.
Yes, we here are in a minority.
We find Paul's pitch disingenuous and annoying. Research shows some people agree with us. But it also shows that more people are on board with him.
The point is, know your audience and know what they like.
Those of us who miss Jonathan Goldsmith's Fernando Lamas character, and who don't appreciate Paul Marcarelli as an unappealing shill, are in a minority.
And as a minority of a certain mind, we can be profitable.
As a small-business owner, you don't have to worry about the mass market.
You have to worry only about the market you serve--which is much smaller than the nation's entire beer-drinking public.
For instance, let's say you're a local craft brewer.
EACH YEAR, YOU PRODUCE LESS BEER THAN DOS EQUIS SPILLS EACH MONTH
It does not behoove you to worry about whether your brand and your marketing play to the nation's college football market.
You need to worry about whether your brand and your marketing play to the local specialty market.
For example, here in Park City where we live, we are an active-outdoor sports mecca.
Skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, paddling, fly fishing--beer drinkers here get out and do stuff. Constantly.
And local Park City Brewery aims right at that market.
Their beer, ostensibly, "Pairs well with your next outdoor adventure."
The names of their beers evoke the activities pursed by their customer.
THEY DON'T GIVE A FLYING CHUPACABRA'S PATOUTIE WHAT DOS EQUIS IS DOING
That doesn't mean they should ignore it.
It just means they should understand the difference between Dos Equis and themselves, and proceed accordingly.
They're never going to be marketing on a mass scale.
They're never going to compete with a national brand.
They are going to compete with other local brewers like Wasatch and Uinta and Epic.
They need to understand how to stand apart and how to be more desirable.
Yes, it helps to be piercing and attractive and resonant like Jonathan Goldsmith's character.
BUT IT ALSO NEEDS TO BE DONE IN A SCALABLE, RELEVANT WAY
It needs to be done in a fashion that resonate locally.
And in many regards, their most interesting man should be their own core customer.
At Slow Burn, we've always maintained that if you brand your small business like a big business, great things will happen.
And we stand by that.
We're not dissuading you from doing things correctly.
But you also need to understand how to scale it down for your market and your prospect.
You can and should look big.
But you just need to make sure you keep the reigns on it.
And so does your approach to maintaining local interest.
Can you hear me now?
Your Lean, Mean Creative Director in
Blaine Parker helps people sell their stuff. An advertising Creative Director and Copywriter at Slow Burn Marketing, he specializes in big-brand thinking for small-business marketing. He has the voice of a much taller man.