Jonathan Goldsmith of Dos Equis Most Interesting Man in the World ad is set to retire. As Goldsmith retires, the beer brand will make major changes to what is widely viewed as one of the best ad campaigns of the 21st century, according to USA Today.
Goldsmith, 77, is shown headed for a one-way trip to Mars, leaving the impression that the character will never come back. Jonthan delivers his classic line “Stay Thirsty My Friends” aboard a rocket ship, as the campaign’s familiar voiceover states that “his only regret is not knowing what regret feels like.” Before he takes off, he bids farewell to characters who have appeared with him in previous Dos Equis ads over the years.
But while Jonathan Goldsmith might be heading into outer space, the campaign will remain. New ads slated for the fall will feature a new actor in the starring role, executives from parent company Heineken USA said in interviews.
As the Jonathan Goldsmith of Dos Equis ad simmers, the company declined to indentify the new star, or share details about ad plotlines, other than to say they are seeking to contemporize the campaign. One goal is to align the ads better with the brand’s new sponsorship of the College Football Playoff.
“There will be a hand-off of sorts — one day it won’t just be somebody new,” said Andrew Katz, VP of marketing for Dos Equis. The campaign “will feel familiar, but it will be different,” he said. “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.”
The brand is sticking with Havas Worldwide New York, which originally created the campaign when the agency was known as Euro RSCG before hiring Jonathan Goldsmith.
Dos Equis’ deal with the College Football Playoff will begin this fall. The multiyear deal pact will become a major part of the brew’s marketing. The commercial appeared on YouTube has been viewed by 445,000 times.
“If you just plug the current campaign in the context of college football, there is something there missing,” said Heineken USA Chief Marketing Officer Nuno Teles. The current version of the campaign is “looking backwards,” he added. “You need something a bit more contemporary and something a bit more in today’s world.”
Indeed, the campaign in its current form is an odd fit for a mainstream sport like football. Ads have featured the man engaging in offbeat pursuits like running with the bulls and traveling through exotic locales in scenes that use grainy footage to depict years gone by.
Jonathan Goldsmith is embroiled in a real-world legal dispute with a talent management firm that alleges it is owed commissions from the actor. Goldsmith, who disputes the allegations, recently filed a countersuit alleging that the firm, Gold Levin Talent, violated a confidentiality agreement in the lawsuit, which revealed Goldsmith’s potential earnings of $1.07 million in 2016. The suit “jeopardized his future as the spokesman for Dos Equis beer,” Jonathan’s countersuit argued.
But Katz said the legal skirmish did not play a role in Dos Equis’ decision to change actors. “We are incredibly grateful to [Goldsmith] for his contributions to the brand, and that appreciation absolutely remains undiminished by any personal legal matters that he has,” he said. “We decided some time ago that it is time for us to evolve the campaign and that’s exactly what we are doing.”
Dos Equis began considering its options more than a year ago, executives said. Everything was on the table, including making changes, keeping it the same or scrapping it entirely, said Telles, who assumed the U.S. CMO role two years ago after running Heineken marketing in Brazil.
“We still have the number one campaign in the beer industry and it is a big responsibility when you have the number one campaign to figure out what to do next.”
Research revealed that the Jonathan Goldsmith of Dos Equis ads “could go further with the campaign — if we would become more active” and “more present-day,” Telles said. Dos Equis also wants to create more digital content that matches the media consumption habits of the new generation of young-adult drinkers.