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The end of a chapter of one of “The Most Interesting Marketing Campaigns in the World”

Bless you, sir this world was never interesting enough for you.

As Dos Equis ejects its iconic pitch man into the stratosphere bound for Mars, the rest of us tragically uninteresting people are left behind wondering why?

Why replace the world’s most interesting pitch man? Perhaps a better question is how?

Jonathan Goldsmith, the face behind the Dos Equis brand, represented the Heineken-owned brewer through a turbulent period that saw sales of Dos Equis increase by 22%, while sales of other imported beers in the U.S fell by 4%. The iconic actor is being retired from his position, but it seems that the brand isn’t quite ready to let him go just yet.

Instead of launching a completely new campaign, Dos Equis has elected to slowly evolve “The Most Interesting Man in the World” campaign, and come fall 2016, they will be restaging it, with a new face.

Dos Equis has not yet released who the new spokesman will be, but a digital campaign celebrating the legacy of Goldsmith’s iteration of the character will run throughout the summer. Given the importance of relentless consistency, this campaign will coincide with a packaging update and then in the fall, the campaign will re-launch to coincide with American College Playoff Football.

Dos Equis is making these changes because it has identified that its current “The Most Interesting Man in the World” campaign is no longer resonating with young beer drinkers like it used to, but they are not walking away from it altogether.

In an Ad Age report that broke the story, Andrew Katz, VP of marketing for Dos Equis stated: “There will be elements that are very, very recognizable, that are super iconic to us, but it will have a very fresh take on things. It will not feel like we’ve just swapped actors.”

It’s a big change, that feels almost akin to the end of a favorite TV show or movie franchise, but like any good modern franchise just because it’s over doesn’t mean it’s dead.

Here are a few questions the brand builders at Hotspex have been wrestling with, while trying to manage the emotions related to having to say goodbye to such a familiar face…

 

How important are brand assets to campaigns and brand growth?

Let’s breakdown the campaign, as well as the Dos Equis brand, into its individual brand elements. There is the archetype of ‘the Most Interesting Man in the World’, the actual actor Jonathan Goldsmith, the tagline ‘Stay Thirsty, My Friends”, the green color of the Dos Equis bottle, the gold and red logo lockup, and several others. Then there are the less tangible elements, the quirks, the women, the music, the grainy film footage and the cast of characters who reprise their roles in the finale. These implicit elements of the campaign also work together to add a certain something that completes the feeling around the brand. Each of these brand elements have intrinsic value. The elements with the most value are considered brand assets because they are both distinctive and relevant.

A brand asset, is distinctive, or ‘owned’ by the brand, when consumers unmistakably link that brand asset with your brand. It is relevant, or ‘on-brand’, when the asset reinforces and amplifies your brand’s promise by evoking emotions that are consistent with what consumers have come to expect from the brand.

A brand asset is considered iconic, when it resonates with an audience and is even recognized by consumers not participating in the category.

 

When is the right time to evolve your brand assets?

If you gave most brands a successful asset like the ‘Most Interesting Man in the World’, they’d milk it for as long as they possible could, perhaps driving it into the ground. So when is the right time to evolve or say goodbye to that asset?

This question can only be answered by understanding the tension between marketers wanting to ensure the ad breaks-through, and yet is familiar to consumers.  The ability to achieve this balance is what separates true brand builders from the rest of the pack.

 

As you evolve your brand, what is the right balance of breakthrough and familiarity?

In this specific example, the ads were no longer resonating with the desired audience, it was clear that the Dos Equis brand needed to evolve. That said, if the brand is looking for a breakthrough, why not ditch the entire campaign and try something new? Clearly there is additional equity to be extracted from this successful campaign. Dos Equis is evolving some of the brand assets, but sticking with the established campaign theme. By building such an exciting storyline that will play out over the course of 2016, they are attempting to balance breakthrough and familiarity in a very creative manner.

 

Is Dos Equis making the right decisions with their brand assets?

We believe Jonathan Goldsmith may have been iconic. We also believe that he is still distinctive and unmistakably linked to the Dos Equis brand. Given the brand grew in the face of a challenging category, clearly he was relevant, but their recent insights have uncovered that he no longer is. As Dos Equis evolves, it needs to evolve the emotions it evokes in consumers in order to break through, and thus, it is time to make peace with saying goodbye to Jonathan.

So while, they are moving away from Jonathan Goldsmith, Dos Equis is sticking to its roots by keeping elements of the campaign and the brand identity consistent. The archetype, albeit with a new actor, the color of the bottle, and perhaps the tagline will remain to retain familiarity. It seems that Dos Equis is doing a great job of balancing break through and creativity. We believe the following quote by Phil Duncan, Chief Design Officer at P&G, exemplifies their approach:

“I tell my colleagues that it is the responsibility of brand teams to write the next chapter for the P&G book, not to write a new book. The goal is always to keep the story interesting and moving forward.” .1

So as Dos Equis writes the next chapter, execution will be key and they would certainly benefit from measuring how distinctive and relevant potential new actors come across to their consumers, before having him (or her) sign a long-term deal.

To quote our senior VP of research Luke Austin “You can’t just end a campaign this good, you have to finish it.” Good stories need closure, and while this may be a fitting end to Mr. Goldsmith’s tenure with the brand, it ensures his legacy remains.  We look forward to seeing the next chapter of this great story.

If you want help finding the most interesting asset in your brand, click here to read our Distinctive Assets article.

If you have any questions or are trying to figure out how to balance the need for breakthrough with staying relentlessly consistent to your brand promise, let us know.

Stay branded my friends.

 

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Authors: Jonathan La Greca, Craig Herbert

Contributors: Shane Skillen, Luke Austin