Millennials aren't finding the new Most Interesting Man in the World all that interesting, according to new data from perception research firm YouGov BrandIndex. But brand owner Heineken USA is disputing the findings, saying the brand is "healthier than ever."
"Since re-introducing the iconic advertising character at the end of October in a younger version played by 41-year-old Augustin Legrand, Dos Equis' purchase consideration with millennials has dropped by more than half," YouGov states in a report it plans to make public today.
The Heineken USA brand teased the new version of the character in September before giving a full reveal on Oct. 25 with a new spot. Since the ad has been running, fewer millennials stated they are interested in buying the beer, according to YouGov.
On Nov. 3, 18% of millennials said they'd consider purchasing Dos Equis the next time they bought beer, according to YouGov. That fell to 8% by Dec. 8, which YouGov states is the lowest it's been for the age group in nearly four years. The average purchase consideration among millennials for all beer brands on Dec. 8 was 13%.
Heineken USA took issue with the findings in a statement to Ad Age.
"Dos Equis consideration is healthier than ever, and on the heels of our latest campaign featuring the Most Interesting Man in the World, Dos Equis Lager experienced its best month of sales in two years," Heineken USA spokesman Bjorn Trowery said in an email, referring to Nielsen sales figures for November. He said the launch ad, called "Cantina," has "earned top marks within ad testing, and via Facebook has garnered 57,000+ likes, 18,000 shares and 5,600+ comments -- a large majority of which being very positive in tone." The marketer uses a third-party ad tracker called Phoenix AdTracker.
Mr. Legrand replaced Jonathan Goldsmith, who had played the character since the campaign launched in 2006. Mr. Goldsmith made his final appearance for the brand earlier this year at the age of 77 in an ad that debuted in March showing his character taking a one-way trip to Mars.
With Mr. Legrand in the lead role, Dos Equis stuck with Havas Worldwide New York, which originally created the campaign when the agency was known as Euro RSCG.
The brand and agency have sought to retain the magic of the campaign, while making some subtle tweaks. For instance, women appear in more progressive roles. In the old spots they often appeared in sexy outfits, fawning over the leading man. But in the new campaign, females are put on equal footing with Mr. Legrand's character.
The YouGov BrandIndex gets its results by interviewing 4,800 people each weekday from a representative U.S. population sample. The respondents come from an online panel of more than 1.8 million people.