The Most Interesting Man in the World is about to start working with a new ad agency, assuming he survives an account change on Dos Equis. Heineken USA has moved the brand from Havas Worldwide to Droga5, the marketer has confirmed to Ad Age.
Havas Worldwide created the iconic ad character in 2006 and had been handling the account since then, surviving multiple marketing executive changes at the brand. But brand-owner Heineken USA has decided to make a change less than a year after relaunching the iconic campaign with a new actor in the leading role.
"Dos Equis and Heineken USA have great appreciation for Havas' long-standing partnership and creative collaboration, which produced the iconic advertising campaign, 'The Most Interesting Man in the World,'" Heineken USA said in a statement. "Their work will continue through 2017. Droga5 will be the new creative agency of record for Dos Equis, and their first campaign for the brand will launch in 2018. Droga5 is well-known for breakthrough advertising and we are excited to collaborate with them on the evolution of the campaign, as well as new ways to engage our consumers."
The move marks a return to Heineken USA by Droga5, which last summer parted ways with the marketer to join Anheuser-Busch InBev's roster of agencies. The shop was hired to handle strategic planning and creative execution for AB InBev's Best Damn brand of flavored malt beverages. The Dos Equis win could cause a conflict with AB InBev, but the status of the relationship is unclear. Droga5 declined comment and AB InBev spokespeople did not immediately respond to an email request for comment on Tuesday night.
Havas was not immediately available for comment.
The change comes less than a year after Dos Equis relaunched the campaign with French actor Augustin Legrand playing the lead role. He replaced Jonathan Goldsmith, the original Most Interesting Man in the World, as Dos Equis decided to go with a younger actor. The campaign was left largely intact without any major changes to the witty one-liners, like "He once cheated death, and death was perfectly OK with it."
But Dos Equis still made tweaks to the ads. For instance, the new ads play out entirely in the present era. The old spots included footage of a younger version of the man, suggesting a bygone era. The classic tagline, "Stay Thirsty, My Friends," was changed to "Stay Thirsty, Mis Amigos," a play for Hispanic and bi-cultural drinkers.
Dos Equis has grown sales by 6% year-to-date, according to IRI figures cited this week by Beer Business Daily, which noted that the brand's sales accelerated by 7% in the four week period ending May 14. But Dos Equis is still chasing hot-sellers Corona and Modelo Especial in the Mexican import segment. Corona and Modelo Especial grew by 9.1% and 21.7% respectively in the 12-week-period ending May 20, according to Nielsen data cited in a recent Wells Fargo beverage report.
Havas created the campaign when the shop was known as Euro RSCG. Karl Lieberman, then a copywriter/art director for the agency, recalled to Ad Age last year that he and his creative partner Brandon Henderson reluctantly came up with the idea about a half hour before a meeting with the executive creative director. "We were just a couple of idiots trying to make each other laugh and cobble something together for a meeting on an account we figured we'd never sell something on anyway," said Lieberman, now the executive creative director at Wieden & Kennedy New York, where he works on Bud Light.