The Most Interesting Man in the World

the most interesting man in the worldA tongue-in-cheek Mexican beer campaign with a senior citizen pitching to guys in their 20s and 30s – that would be madness, right?

Not if the distinguished old guy is Jonathan Goldsmith, playing a “James Bond meets Ernest Hemingway” character in the Dos Equis beer ads as “The Most Interesting Man in the World.”

In a gloriously rumpled tuxedo, the TV veteran of 80’s shows like Magnum P.I. and Knight Rider has made Dos Equis into a household name in the US and Canada – no small feat in the current recession.

Inviting Parody

Freeing a trapped bear, leading a midnight hike through the jungle, playing a rousing game of jai alai—it’s all in a day’s work for the Most Interesting Man in the World.

The 15 second spots are brilliantly written with quotable quips that invite parody – “The police often question him just because they find him interesting;” “He once had an awkward moment, just to see how it feels;”  “His blood smells like cologne;” “His beard alone has experienced more than a lesser man’s entire body.”

Sunburned and silver-haired, Goldsmith’s character dangles a bottle of Dos Equis from thumb and forefinger, presumably unwinding after his latest escapade. “I don’t always drink beer,” he rumbles. “But when I do, I prefer Dos Equis.”

Tripled Sales

Reminiscent of the “Chuck Norris Facts” that became an Internet sensation (“Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits,”) they appeal to young guys who “when they get to the bar, they want to tell a better story about the life they lead,” according to the ad’s creators.

Running in the US since 2007 and in Canada since 2008, (where the beer’s sales have more than tripled this year) they’ve won awards and inspired a slew of imitators.

On The Dos Equis Facebook page, over 150,000 fans post favourite facts about him, or invent their own. The character even hosts a Most Interesting Academy online, where devotees can learn everything from survival tips to animal kingdom lore.

Arm Wrestle Stalin, Mao

All of these spots are tied-in at the end with our interesting gentleman telling us to “stay thirsty my friends” which is also the web address for their campaign micro-site – http://www.staythirstymyfriends.com.

There you can test your skill in patience and strength (by arm wrestling Mao, Churchill, Stalin, or even our most interesting man), apply to become the most interesting man in the world’s personal assistant and view various photos with our host performing assorted “manly” feats.

So why was a man whose mysteriously uninformative Wikipedia entry only admits to being born “in the 1940s,” appeal to guys under 40? Ad people say it’s because the campaign shoots for charming eccentricity and “a model of masculinity” over cheesecake and frat humour.

Only the Beer XX-rated

The man himself recently told a Hollywood columnist he’s having a blast.  The Examiner’s Page Five reports he loves being greeted with a smile wherever he goes and considers the hit campaign “an absolute blessing” in his life. But as far as those Internet sites in which people concoct their own funny “most interesting man” titbits, he admits they’re not really for him.

“I have no computer skills,” says the avid sailor, who lives on his boat. “People will call and tell me about them, and I’ve looked a couple of times. But when one of them supposedly had me as a porn star, I tuned out.” The journeyman actor has a long list of film and TV credits (Go Tell the Spartans, MacGyver, etc.) — but only his beer is XX-rated.

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