Dos Equis might be dropping Havas Worldwide for Droga5, but the agency isn't going out quietly. In a full-page print ad in Ad Age's June 12 issue, the agency says "Adios" to the brand in big bold lettering above a lengthy list of awards that the Most Interesting Man in the World campaign won since debuting in 2006.
The ad, which is also running in print in Adweek and The New York Times, reads
Adios, mis amigos. The Most Interesting Man in the World campaign has always been about bravery – from its groundbreaking inception through years of innovation to the moment we chose to part ways. Thank you to our partner, Heineken, for allowing us to co-create one of the most iconic and awarded campaigns in history – one that also drove sales spectacularly.
The ad goes on to say, "Cheers to our success," followed by the campaign's list of industry honors, including a Gold for Sustained Success from last week's Effie North America Awards.
It is not uncommon for ad agencies to put the best spin possible on an account loss. But taking out a full-page ad, is rare if not unprecedented. Havas appears to be using the ad as a sales pitch for potential new clients.
"This campaign was groundbreaking in the world of advertising and we think it was a cultural phenomenon, as well, so it's not often that a campaign can become part of a cultural lexicon, which is what happened with The Most Interesting Man in the World," said Laura Maness, CEO of Havas New York. "We felt it was worthy of celebrating the longstanding relationship with Heineken and the work, which is the type of work we hope to bring to all of our clients."
At the bottom of the ad, Havas lists a phone number which leads to a recorded message from Will Lyman, the actor who provided the voiceovers for the Dos Equis ads.
The message says:
They're like a pied piper, but on social media. If they make the logo bigger, it's because the logo was too small. For a good time, people call their reception desk. Hello, you have reached Havas New York. They are the agency that created The Most Interesting Man in the World, and they're probably off doing something interesting right now, but if you'd like to like to discuss how they could create something interesting for you, leave your number and they'll return your call.
Havas will continue working with Dos Equis through the rest of the year. The agency change comes less than a year after Dos Equis relaunched the iconic campaign with a new younger actor in the leading role. When asked whether the Havas ad will cause any tension between the agency and client during the remaining months, Maness said the ad was created to celebrate the relationship.
"We were definitely never resting on our laurels and we wanted to celebrate the success we've had with Heineken as well as all the people who touched this work over the last 11 years," she added.
Maness declined to comment on the decision to use the words "we chose to part ways" in the ad beyond saying, "We knew it was time." A Heineken spokeswoman told Ad Age that it was the brand that chose to part ways with Havas. She declined to comment on the Havas ad beyond reaffirming a statement given last week that said in part that "Dos Equis and Heineken USA have great appreciation for Havas' long-standing partnership and creative collaboration, which produced the iconic advertising campaign."
The relationship had survived personnel turnover at both the client and agency through the years. Maness said the split had nothing to do with Andrew Benett, former global CEO of Havas Creative Group and Havas Worldwide, stepping down from this post in January.
The campaign helped grow Dos Equis from a low-profile brand once sold mostly in Texas and California to a major player in the imported beer segment. But there are concerns the campaign might not be resonating as it once did. "Dos Equis has slowed. There are growing questions from distributors about [the] new Most Interesting Man," Beer Marketer's Insights reported last week. "So [the agency change] does not come as complete surprise." The beer trade publication cited Nielsen sales figures showing that the Dos Equis brand franchise was only up 0.5% year-to-date through May 27.