even as it has passed through multiple
brand directors and agency executives.
One series of ads shows flashbacks
of The Most Interesting Man’s some-
times death-defying and always quirky
feats spanning the 1960s to the 1990s.
Grainy scenes show him parachuting
out of an airplane in a boat, for instance,
while a narrator intones one-liners
such as “He’s won trophies for his
game face alone.” The other set of ads
are simpler, featuring the Man giving
advice on topics such as speed-dating: “I
assure you, most women would not
consider speed a virtue.”
The Man’s feats (such as “bowling
overhand”) are offbeat but not impos-
sible, but the laughs aren’t cheap. “We
don’t want to go for the sophomoric,
cliché humor that is sort of the staple of
the [beer] category,” Mr. Smailes said.
Did you know?
THEMOSTINTERESTING ADSHOOTINTHEWORLD: Director Steve Miller of Radical Media (l.) reviews scenes with Dos Equis Senior Brand Director Paul Smailes and Mr. Goldsmith. Dos Equis’ latest campaign has The Most Interesting Man going back in time, with one ad showing him having a go at ski jumping in the ‘80s. A spot that depicts a ‘70s-era Most Interesting Man features a younger actor, Claudio Marangone, running not with the bulls, but against them.
trouble, when a billboard that read
“Approach women like you would wild
animals, with caution and a soothing
voice,” drew complaints from women’s
groups and was pulled.
On set, the Radical Media crew
keeps a relentless focus on details. I
watched them shoot a scene set in the
1980s, in which the Man happens on a
ski jump while out for a winter walk. So
he decides to give it a try.
Multiple cameras are used, including a vintage Bolex handheld used to
give scenes a “found footage” look. In a
sequence that will last only a couple of
seconds in the ad, the Man casually
hands his cigar and watch to a couple of
skiers dressed in ugly blue ski suits
before he heads down the jump.
In take after take, Director Steve
Miller yells out instructions. “Big
laugh,” he instructs Mr. Goldsmith,
who instinctively complies. The joke,
Mr. Miller later explained, is to put him
“I always looked
didn’t want to
do them.” But
“it’s the best
thing that ever
me in my life.”
Advertising Age | March 5, 2012 11
in “serious or life-threatening situa-
tions, and he just throws a laugh in
there. … It’s a great contrast.”
For scenes set in the ‘60s or ‘70s, a
younger actor, Claudio Marangone,
replaces Mr. Goldsmith. On the day I
watched, he was playing the Man in a
scene set in 1970s-era Spain in which
he runs not with the bulls but against
them. With cameras shooting from
above, two live bulls are unleashed
directly at Mr. Marangone. After a few
rounds, Mr. Miller seems satisfied. But
a crew member shouts, “My cable got
cut by the cow.” The video feed was
lost. So they shoot again.
This year, for the first time, a few
spots will run for Dos Equis Amber, a
dark lager that accounts for about 30%
of brand sales. “They say having a dark
side will lead to no good. I certainly
hope so,” the Man says in one ad.
Focus remains on brand
One thing people won’t see is Mr.
Goldsmith making public-relations
appearances, or showing up in TV programs or movies, as the Most
Interesting Man. Heineken USA has
said it has turned down plenty of offers
because it does not want the character
to overshadow the brand. “You want to
make sure the awareness is around the
brand, instead of the awareness of the
character,” said Kheri Holland Tillman,
VP-trade marketing and sales strategy.
Even so, it seems undeniable that
the Man is almost single-handedly
fueling sales. Although that’s a testament to the power of advertising, it also
applies pressure to keep things fresh.
Much of that responsibility falls to Lee
Garfinkel, Euro RSCG’s chief creative
officer-global brands, who joined the
agency about a year ago. His writing
team brainstorms more than 400
punch lines a year and whittles the list
down to about 30 for TV and radio.
The campaign will undergo “small
evolutions,” Mr. Garfinkel said. For
instance, the Man this year will deliver
his famous parting shot—“Stay
thirsty, my friends”—from his manor
rather than a bar banquette. Where he
lives is still a guarded secret.
Meanwhile, Mr. Goldsmith has
docked his sailboat for good and moved
to a quiet farmhouse in Vermont. He is,
without a doubt, a full-fledged celebrity, recognized routinely by strangers
who aspire to be his character. All
because of a beer ad. “I always looked
down on commercials.” He said he
never wanted to be in them. But “it’s
the best thing that ever happened to me
in my life.”
Stones make their debut
at London’s Marquee Club
and revolutionize the
rock music scene.