the new “most interesting man in the world:” a commentary

In 2016, Dos Equis beer revealed that they would retire Jonathan Goldsmith as their signature “most interesting man in the world” character. To attract younger drinkers, they introduced a new, younger “most interesting man” actor – Augustin Legrand. The reviews haven’t been great and I want to get into why I think the newer stuff misses the mark.

I think that the original ads work because they perfectly parodied a  very specific cultural niche. Specifically, the original ads were about urbane straight white guys living out an adventurous life in the 1950s and 1960s. The film is usually in color, sometimes black and white, but always grainy. The events are time very time specific, such as emerging from an Apollo era space capsule or helping to unveil the very first mobile phone. He’s James Bondish in that he often wears a tuxedo and mingles with the global elite.

The new ads drop most of the retro feel. The film quality is clear, not grainy. The tuxedo and bow tie are dropped for a sleeker suit. Most of the events in the commercials can happen today, they are simply about being cool, not about being timeless.

The attitude has changed as well. Of course the new Most Interesting Man is still supremely confident and a master of common and obscure skills. But the tone subtly shifted from witty to jokey. Example: In the original series, the Most Interesting man in the world is shown playing really absurd, but elite, sports. In one ad, he was shown playing jai alai! In contrast, the new Most Interesting man is revealed to have been a college football player. He went from rarified athlete to the most gritty and earthy sport of all – college football. Not very interesting.

In recent months, Dos Equis has appealed more to college students by pushing the football angle and bringing in comic actor Rob Riggles. The ads in which Riggles appear completely dispense with the original concept of the man who has done all these amazing things and becomes a prop for Riggles’ comedy, which is not classic but very much “in the moment.” That’s not bad, but one has to ask why one even needs the Most Interesting man at all at this point.

And that is the most disappointing turn of all. The real joke of the original ad campaign was that we had this exaggerated, ultra macho man who came down from heaven to tell us about all these truly incredible things he had done. This god-like avatar of masculinity has been turned into a shill for football games, where thousands of people sit while they yell at men who throw each other to the ground. It’s a shame, I thought Dos Equis was the beer for people who don’t usually drink beer.

Flashback: The most interesting sociologist in the world.

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Written by fabiorojas

January 12, 2018 at 5:16 am

8 Responses

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  1. Good enjoyable post. I’ve long speculated/hoped that someday the ad will be revived, but the tag line won’t be about beer but about smoking marijuana.


    David Ronfeldt

    January 17, 2018 at 7:14 pm

  2. […] 1. Why the most interesting man in the world isn’t so interesting so any more. […]


  3. I found the original campaign quite fun but must admit it’s largely because they were able to reproduce Wes Anderson’s aesthetic so well.



    January 17, 2018 at 11:14 pm

  4. In my view, the original worked because we suspected that he might be real. It’s obvious in version 2 that he’s not.



    January 17, 2018 at 11:44 pm

  5. The old Most Interesting Man in the World, actor Jonathan Goldsmith, was doing his impression of his late sailing buddy, Argentine movie star Fernando Lamas. The upper class macho Latin angle was a big part of the appeal. Rich Latin American playboys – race car drivers, yachtsmen, that kind of thing – were a fun part of American cafe society a couple of generations ago. And Goldsmith and his writers got right that part of the appeal was having a code of conduct with deep aristocratic roots: e.g., “Cheating is only in good taste when it comes to death.”


    Steve Sailer

    January 18, 2018 at 1:38 am

  6. His name is Riggle.

    Liked by 1 person


    January 18, 2018 at 1:27 pm

  7. The only amusing moment in the new campaign appeared in one of the earliest ads– where he emerges from a well with a stray soccer ball. Since then, it’s simply been a ho-hum campaign.


    Mark Stoffel

    January 18, 2018 at 3:08 pm

  8. Maybe the original Dos Equis guy had better copy writers, but he did project the cool image of leading an interesting life, and his age only added to that, that he a long, interesting life.



    January 19, 2018 at 6:34 am

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