The Most Interesting Man in the World is going to the Olympics. Well, sort of.
Dos Equis is launching a new ad during tonight's opening ceremonies called "Bobsled" that was specifically created to run during the games. But while the ad includes scenes of Olympic sports like hockey and skiing, the word "Olympics" is not used, and the athletes are actors.
The brand treads lightly because it is not an official Olympic sponsor. The U.S. Olympic Committee is a stickler on ad rules, which generally prohibit marketers who are not official sponsors from featuring Olympic competitors.
But Dos Equis, which is run by Heineken USA, did not want to pass up a chance to reach the Olympic audience. "Knowing how interested our target [drinker] is in winter sports, it just seemed sort of like the perfect way for us to dabble in a fun exciting brand campaign extension and also to be very socially relevant during this time," said Gwen Boyce, Dos Equis' brand director.
On Twitter, Dos Equis plans to show the Most Interesting Man reacting to Olympic moments using GIFs of his facial expression.
The only beer brand sponsoring Team USA is Anheuser-Busch InBev's Budweiser. But the brand does not have plans to buy TV time during Olympic programming in the U.S., a spokeswoman confirmed. Last year, an NBC Sports executive criticized the brewer for showing a "disinterest" in the games. A-B InBev responded by saying it can "better connect with consumers through digital and social media."
The Dos Equis ad, which is by Havas Worldwide, New York, will run in selected markets on NBC, as well as in national cable programming. The spot represents the first time in the history of the eight-year-old campaign where actors deliver the punchlines during the 30-second "legend" ads, rather than a voiceover. Also, the Most Interesting Man does not appear until the end, during the usual tagline period.
The ad "highlights and reflects the character's growing legend," Ms. Boyce said. "It almost reflects back the real conversations occurring in bars across the U.S., where consumers are turning to each other and quoting a [Most Interesting Man] line."
The brand began experimenting with giving other people more prominent roles in the ads with this recent spot, called "Bivouac."
Each year, Dos Equis wants to "do something that pushes the boundaries a little bit," Ms. Boyce said. But the Man, played by actor Jonathan Goldsmith, is not going anywhere. The brand recently finished shooting a round of ads that were partly filmed in Canada and will debut in March. Scenes will include underwater swimming as well as the Man interacting with a seal.
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