Heineken USA moves Dos Equis from Droga5 to Sid Lee
The marketer credited the Montreal-based shop’s growing presence in the U.S., citing its acquisition of Los Angeles-based social agency Denizen, as well as recent work for The North Face, including the “Rest Normal” campaign.
“We have been admirers of Sid Lee's work and have been consistently impressed by both their strategic thinking and their creativity through an extremely rigorous pitch process,” Heineken USA Chief Marketing Officer Jonnie Cahill said in a statement. “We're hard at work already on a series of creative executions across multiple brand touchpoints that will debut in the coming months. We are truly looking forward to 2021, but then isn't everyone?”
A Heineken USA spokesman confirmed that Droga5 did not participate in the review. The agency did not immediately provide comment.
“Droga5 have been a valuable partner as we have evolved the Dos Equis brand together over the past 3 years, and we are grateful for their partnership,” Heineken USA said in a statement. “As we continue to review business performance and look at where we envision Dos Equis going directionally, we felt the brand would benefit from a creative review at this time. This is not directly because of recent work or implications of COVID-19. We thank Droga5 for their work and partnership.”
Dos Equis was once the toast of the beer marketing community thanks to its wildly successful “Most Interesting Man in the World” campaign, originally created in 2006 from Havas-owned Euro RSCG. Droga5 won the account in 2017 and faced the unenviable task of following up on the iconic campaign. Heineken USA in late 2016 replaced the older actor that played the Interesting Man with a younger lead in an attempt to modernize the campaign, but the move failed to gain traction. The campaign was shelved in 2018 when Droga5 rolled out “Keep It Interesante,” which attempted to keep some of the old campaign’s roots but focus on telling tales people might share during a long night of drinking, with lines like Dos Equis is "the beer Abraham Lincoln kept under his hat." It was later evolved to “The Interesting Beer for Interesting Times.”
Despite its widespread success, Heineken USA executives pivoted away from the Most Interesting Man character under the belief that the character and original actor, Jonathan Goldsmith, had begun to upstage the brand. “It was definitely the right move because he became bigger than the brand in a way,” Heineken USA marketing VP Alison Payne told Ad Age in a recent interview. “We created a legend, but Dos Equis … was gradually being forgotten.”
Dos Equis sales had fallen under the new campaign but the brand experienced better trends this year. Sales in grocery channels and other off-premise venues were up 12% in the three months ending Sept. 26, according to Nielsen data cited by Beer Marketer’s Insights.
But Sid Lee and Heineken USA seemed poised for another marketing overhaul on the brew. “This is a landmark win for us; a marquee brand with a rich creative history,” Andy Bateman, CEO of Sid Lee USA said in a statement, noting that “we look forward to developing breakthrough work that marks the next stage of the brand's evolution.”