After Tease, Dos Equis Debuts Its New Most Interesting Man in the World

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After teasing its revamped Most Interesting Man in the World in September, Dos Equis gives a full reveal with an ad debuting today starring French actor Augustin Legrand. The brand is not straying too far from the techniques that made the original campaign famous.

Just like the old ads, the new spot features quirky, off-beat activities, like racing airboats down sand dunes. The one-liners are also back, like "he once cheated death, and death was perfectly OK with it."

But the new ad includes some subtle differences. Women played a supporting role in the old campaign. They often appeared in sexy outfits and fawned over the actor who played the original Most Interesting Man, Jonathan Goldsmith. In the new spot, a female co-star played by actress Marina Artigas is put on equal footing with Mr. Legrand. She spars with him in Samurai armor and races him down the dunes.

Another key difference is that the ad plays out entirely in the present era. That contrasts with the old ads, which included footage of a younger version of the man, suggesting a bygone era. Finally, Dos Equis has changed the classic tagline, "Stay Thirsty, My Friends," to "Stay Thirsty Mis Amigos" -- which is an obvious play for Hispanic and bi-cultural drinkers.

The agency is Havas Worldwide, New York, which was behind the original campaign.

"The temptation of a marketing director is to kill good ideas. Since the beginning of this project, I said, listen, the idea is good, it just needs to be executed in a better way," Heineken USA Chief Marketing Officer Nuno Teles said in an interview last week in Chicago, where he unveiled the new ad to distributors at a private meeting.

Of course, viewers will be the ultimate judge on whether or not the new approach maintains the magic of the old campaign, which was widely viewed as one of the best ad efforts of the 21st Century. (Ad Age agreed.) Mr. Goldsmith, who played the character since the campaign launched in 2006, appeared in his last spot for Dos Equis earlier this year at the age of 77 when his character was sent on a one-way trip to Mars. He was replaced as Dos Equis late this year began a new sponsorship of the College Football Playoff, which is overseen by ESPN.

Mr. Teles described Mr. Legrand's character as more adventurous, dynamic and athletic. Mr. Goldsmith "would not be logical in a college football situation," he said.

"Jonathan would play with two nice girls next to him [and] was bit more formal," he said. The new actor "has a group of friends next to him. You don't see the two girls. The women are challenging him."

"The new Most Interesting Man is a man of action," said Toygar Bazarkaya, chief creative officer of the Americas at Havas. "He's never one to reminisce on times past, which stylistically changes everything. With a faster pace and more energy, we're reinvigorating and modernizing one of the greatest campaigns."

As evidenced in the new ad, Dos Equis will attempt to put a quirky spin on football-themed marketing. Mr. Legrand's character is seen kicking a football made out of a coconut between two giraffes that stand in for traditional goal posts. The kicker: "He played college football in high school."

The ad also includes a "helicopter RV," which represents Dos Equis' take on tailgating. The brand plans to station the vehicle at the sites of the College Football Playoff games. ESPN will broadcast from the RV during its playoff coverage, Mr. Teles said.

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UPDATE: Heineken originally told Ad Age that ESPN will broadcast from the RV during its playoff coverage. The company now says that is not the case.