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Adios amigo.

Dos Equis’ “The Most Interesting Man in the World” is a thing of the past. For whatever reason (one provocative theory is here), last year its agency replaced the iconic character with a younger yet sadly cruder version of TMIMITW, who quickly bombed. Then Dos Equis replaced its agency with another agency, Droga 5. And that’s that. One of this centuries best advertising campaigns has almost certainly come to a close.

The new agency will do something sort of kind of good (like the beer itself) and it won’t really matter. Dos Equis will fade into the Mexican sunset becoming once again a beer we drink on vacation or at the occasional BBQ.

With TMIMITW, Dos Equis had its pop culture moment –a moment that lasted a decade. Few ad campaigns actually move the needle the way this one did. Explosive and sustainable growth is so freaking rare. (I had similar success with the “curiously strong mints” campaign for Altoids and consider myself VERY fortunate.)

Let’s face it, most campaigns, even the best ones, don’t blow up their respective categories. Advertising, whether we admit or not, is usually about not losing ground and maintaining the status quo. Beer number one advertises so beer number two doesn’t overtake it. We all think –or should think- that our work will make more than dents. But those overblown case study results aside, dents are what happen when we’re lucky. More than that and we’re blessed.

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She can’t stop looking at his nose…

A lot of us will blame the new guy for the campaign’s demise. But honestly TMIMITW had lost its interestingness some years ago. After many years of inspired copy the bit had grown stale. Nobody, not even the last copywriter, is to blame for that. When we see the joke coming and coming and coming we cross the street. Havas may have been foolishly chasing millennials by casting a younger hero but in my opinion they were just throwing up a Hail Mary. The public had already stopped being thirsty.

Adios amigo. It was fun while it lasted.

May I create some interesting copy for you? https://steffanwork.wordpress.com/

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“If you had my life you’d be tired too.”

Driving my daughters home the other day, I had on a sports radio channel (much to their chagrin) and it featured a Dos Equis commercial for The Most Interesting Man in the World. Everyone knows the advertising campaign, done by Euro RSCG in New York. When it first came out, this witty, unexpected idea took the world by storm, garnering much deserved praise from Adland as well as from everyone else with ears and eyes. Among its many virtues, The Most Interesting Man in the World was so unlike anything else in its category. While Miller Lite and Bud Light kept trying to make three dudes on a couch funny, Dos Equis eschewed all that in favor of an urbane, older rogue living a robust life of magnanimous proportions. A man of action, he spoke little but when he did it was fantastic: “I don’t always drink beer but when I do, I drink Dos Equis.” And the kicker: “Stay thirsty my friends!” Brilliant.

But… half way through the 60-second spot, my 12-year-old daughter makes a comment from the back seat: “The most interesting man doesn’t seem so interesting anymore.”

Excluding the much-deserved praise, I won’t criticize advertising done by my previous agency. Yet my kid’s observation made me curious: When does something get old? We are all familiar with the term, “jumping the shark” pointing to an exact time and place something heretofore wonderful becomes suddenly not. The term was coined over an episode of Happy Days. In it, a water-skiing Fonzie jumps a shark too prove his cool. Game over. Happy Days were no longer here again.

But many great things don’t implode so obviously. Rather they fade away like a summer romance. Something changes and we move on. More important things replace the cute lifeguard.

There’s a great episode of the Simpson’s where Bart becomes famous for one of his catch phrases: “I didn’t do it.” The whole world, Springfield anyway, seizes upon its boyish exuberance. Everyone in town begins using the line to get out of blame and then just for a laugh. “I didn’t do it” gets plastered on tee-shirts. Bart goes on Conan. Soon, however, everyone gets sick of the line, including Bart. His fame dies and he learns how transient such things are.

Despite its ever-growing legions of critics, we must note, ironically, that even after 20 years the Simpson’s franchise keeps chugging along.

Everything else has an expiration date, a point where the content isn’t good and/or appreciated anymore. Unfortunately, most people, places and things don’t realize this until it’s too late. Just ask Michael Jordan or Brett Farve. Look at certain long running TV shows. When Desperate Housewives first aired we were captivated. Now its stars are more famous for their real botched romances and, indeed, real housewives have become more popular. Ad campaigns are no different. After more than ten years my beloved “curiously strong” Altoids campaign is anything but. It may be sad but it is inevitable. One day something is “curiously strong” or “the most interesting” and then it isn’t.

Back in the day, when creatives presented ideas the question was always asked: Does it have legs? We’d answer in the affirmative, showing dozens of executions based on the core idea. But maybe all that that proved was we could beat a dead horse. Popular culture doesn’t like repetition. Familiarity breeds contempt. The moral: Try something else, my friends!

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Same guy, different crimes.

Not my usual M.O. but in honor of summer distractions I’m writing bits and pieces this week. Some news, some rants. These are observations and ideas not big enough to warrant a full post but are on my mind, none-the-less. More to follow soon. Let me know what you think.

Let’s start on a high note. Euro RSCG in New York managed to win the Heineken account, beating out Weiden & Kennedy, TBWA and Strawberry Frog. Euro NY does a fabulous job with the same client’s Dos Equis brand so this seems like fair reward. “The most interesting man in the world” might be the best beer advertising in America right now, maybe even the world. Wonder what they have in store for the yuppie brew in the iconic green bottle. I should say my office in Chicago had nothing to do with this big win. I know the folks who did, however and they are that agency’s best and brightest. Congrats to all.

When it comes to broadcast advertising, cinema is the new TV. I saw five big budget commercials prior to the last movie I attended. Not so long ago these would have represented a typical flight on prime time. But since few of us actually witness commercial breaks anymore (thank you DVR), the movies are now the place where advertisers find a captive audience. This is either highly annoying or great news for agencies still wanting to produce films for their clients. Probably both.

Shifting gears completely: Love our new Prez, his family, even the dog. But why is everyone so complimentary of Michelle Obama’s wardrobe? I think much of what she wears is bizarre. Google her visit with the Pope. That outfit was downright scary. Hey, at least she’s her own woman.

Saw Michael Mann’s “Public Enemies.” Why the plural? Baby Face Nelson is in five minutes. Pretty Boy Floyd gets killed about 20 seconds after we meet him. Still, it’s a good period piece, full of nice suits and men wearing hats. Sort of “Mad Men” with machine guns. Continuing that comparison, John Dillinger is portrayed much the same as Dan Draper. Both men are handsome, driven, and self-destructive. Draper & Dillinger. Now there’s an agency to be reckoned with! Back to the film, I especially appreciated the way Chicago looked: a hell of a lot cooler than it did in “Dark Knight.” You can’t beat the rickety “El” for killer mise en scene.

Some rants in the next post so stay tuned!

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