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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Cutting Corners, and Lackthereof

Everything starts with denial.

"I don't need my glasses."
"I’m not gaining weight."
"I’m not slowing down."
"I’m not out of shape."

But I was.

All of it!

The 1920s penny scale in the entry way and the notches on my belt didn't lie. Those bastards have crystal balls. So about a year ago, I decided to face facts and make some changes.

The ad game is a lonely expedition.
Now I’m lighter and back into jeans that aren't rapper baggy. I’m downward dogging through yoga classes. And I’ve got energy to spare. I feel pretty good about this, but I keep remembering how much I disliked it all and how long it's taking An entire year of my life to get within shouting distance of getting back in shape.

You see, I’m the kind of (media) guy who wants results immediately. I mean, who doesn’t? Well, there are some people who don’t, but they’re about as intelligent as a bag of bricks and I don’t like folks like that. I'm all about getting things done.

But over the years, I’ve grown to understand that speed is not always practical or possible. As a purveyor of all things marketing, I adjust my expectations when I start advertising campaigns because I know every campaign isn't an award winner or designed to make the phone ring off the hook. Sometime, it’s a longer process. So instead of expecting things to go through the roof, I’m satisfied with brand extension -- campaigns designed to maintaining the good work and gaining good feedback. These is the work that builds the foundation and eventually leads to campaign greatness.

My desire to create genius ads like this...
Every now and then, you hear about an ad (wo)man who graduated from college and six months later rose up to director status at one of those big agencies landing account after account. Well, that person is the exception, not the rule. The majority of us serve in the trenches for years before they catch that big break.

There’s no instant gratification in the ad game.

The key here, for both Media Guy and client, is to recognize that results take time. You can’t have one without the other. If you don’t agree, you’re a walking contradiction, and that path leads to failure.

One of my issues with the powerhouse companies that get featured in Adweek and AdAge week after week is that most of them don’t know how to develop campaigns. Those ad guy sign clients and from day one, they use their big budgets to overwhelm consumers with commercial after commercial, massive social media pushes, and favored induced earned media. That’s called swinging for the fences, and it’s a bad idea because the competition is fierce and the odds are stacked against you. Sure, the clients are excited by those opportunities because they feel like they’re cutting the line, but after a year of flat sales, the powerhouse agency will probably create an internal conflict and leverage it into landing a competitor, leaving them with little to show except a stack of inane commercial spots that may or may not have resonated with new customers.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to take your time—creating guerrilla and micro campaigns that that lead to bigger ones, carefully building your circle of engagement, working toward a successful annual strategy built on a foundation of hard-earned wins?

...led to creation of this masterpiece. PERSEVERANCE!
There’s no cutting the line in this industry. Not to get all Tony Robbins on you, but I genuinely believe you must fall in love with the process. That means embracing the bumps in the road.

It’s knowing that every campaign that doesn't send metrics completely through the roof is giving you valuable experience.

It's the perseverance to lead a diversified campaign and not put all your eggs in one basket.

It’s realizing that resting on yesterday's success won't give you the resources you need to book your business class seats for that Italian vacation.

Embrace the journey, not just the end of the road.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Finding the Perfect Media Guy House...

LA is a gentle line of homes without a city // 
You see some summers when a row of properties burn like a sacrifice above the desert //
Moreover it's more really the slow sleepy whip of driven-by Starbucks in strip malls //
It's a petro haze // 
A lowrise watercolor forever outshone by its projections // 
Various ghost cinema selves destined to be always banished by the sunshine // 
And you can shoot great in this light but you can never watch it back here // 
But I don't want the meaning exaggerated like that // 
Just my memories of once longer mornings, garden decades, clubhouses and garages // 
Forever permanent childhood Saturdays //


Okay, so where am I?

I might be on the search for the perfect home. I need something eclectic, yet futuristic. Something that can host some killer media parties and where return visits are sought. I was looking at something futuristic, yet not ridiculous.

There's a ton of wildly fun homes in the Greater Los Angeles area. If you're waiting for the future, no need. Thus kind of architecture was already dreamed up in the in middle of the twentieth century. As a mater of fact, space age architectural design was essentially invented in L.A. We were given the Theme Building at LAX, Johnie’s Coffee Shop, and whimsical homes that would make the Jetsons proud.

Join me on my tour around SoCal and the genius of the land...all I need now is a realtor like Phil Dunphy.

Architect: John Lautner

When the 45-degree slope in the Hollywood Hills proved to be too challenging, a new concept was born. Rest an octagonal-shaped wonder on a 30-foot-tall pole. Getting to the front door is not problem. Simply take the funicular to ring the bell. You would think that this would be the safest home around until you discover that the home’s second owner was stabbed to death during a robbery attempt.

Garcia House
Architect: John Lautner

Another Lautner Hollywood Hills creation rests on what looks to be thin legs. The ceiling-to-floor walls makes the views of the city nothing short of spectacular. Movie buffs like me will remind you that Mel Gibson destroys this house in Lethal Weapon 2 after a bunch of South African diplomats kill his new girlfriend.

Futuro House
Architect: Matti Suurone

This masterpiece was conceived as a pre-fabricated portable ski chalet. The house is mosty made of plastic with stairs that fold out from the entry hatch. You know, like the the Millennium Falcon. Less than 100 were made in the late 1960s and early 1970s with only 50-60 still remaining. This one sits literally next door to the Chemosphere. Han Solo would be proud to retire here.

Al Struckus House
Architect: Bruce Goff

Situated in the San Fernando Valley's bedroom community of Woodland Hills, this hippie New Age home is built out of repurposed wood. The house is said to have an energy that gives an aura off that makes you feel like you are in a world without atmospheric friction.

Bubble House
Architect: Wallace Neff

Some of the original inexpensive housing were the bubble houses, circa 1940s. They were by inflating a giant balloon and then covering it with spray-on concrete. I'm not kidding here. Overseas, they were grouped together in a cluster as you would imagine a Martian colony would look like. This one resides in Pasadena, California, home to the Rose Bowl.

Bob Hope House
Architect: John Lautner

Bob Hope’s Palm Springs home, aka the “UFO House”, was created in 1973 to be reminiscent of volcano with a circular opening in the courtyard roof. If anything, it looks like something out of Close Encounters of the Third Kind with the mothership touching down on Planet Earth.

The only truly acceptable place for a UFO house is on top of the cinder core of a dead volcano in the middle of the Mojave Desert. Designed by Harold Bissner Jr. for the guy who patented the original skateboard, the 1968 home (near Barstow) is tricked out with a moat and rooftop observation deck. Oh, yeah, and for a number of years, it was owned by Huell Howser—precious Huell Howser—who eventually donated it to Chapman University.

Volcano House
Architect: Harold Bissner Jr.

In 1968, the guy who patented the skateboard decided to built a UFO house on the top of dead volcano in the heart of the Mojave Desert. It even has a moat and rooftop observation deck.

Elrod House
Architect: John Lautner

Designed by John Lautner, the official king of spaceship homes, this Palm Springs treasure was featured in the James Bond classic Diamonds Are Forever. See it in high def below.

See the Houses in Action:

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Great Ads Come From Old Typewriters and Unibomber-style Hoodies...

Okay, so where am I?

Yesterday's email from the Telly Awards letting me know that I am now an 11-time winner launched a quickie celebration until the very next email reminded me of the pending deadlines I have on a handful of  projects, each demanding their own slice of greatness.


Just great.

Where to begin?

So now I'm hunkered down Unibomber style with a hoodie on covering my forehead, face barely visible as I chug caffeine trying try to craft that unicorn of a big idea I drone on about endlessly.

It's been a process on my old 1940's typewriter as I pound out rotten idea after crummy thought after regrettable copy. Yeah, the creative process can be drag, but usually it all works out at the 11th hour. I love to work alone in the middle of the day, blinds closed with a stray light somewhere near and talk radio blabbing on about everything and nothing at the same time. When I work in a team, I tend to drive people a bit insane. I talk and talk a lot once I grab the floor of the conversation, filibuster-style, never relenting long enough without recapping a life of dreams, with just the right blend of decades-old agency stories and ex-wife nightmares. Or so I think at the time. This is, after all, my strong suit. I love to lecture about our moral responsibilities in advertising.

Sometimes being alone allows me just the right space to find the right mix of genius and tact necessary to deliver a winning campaigns.

One thing I've discovered is that the first step to creativity is knowing how to ask the right questions; and it doesn’t have to happen on a hilltop while meditating in Zen mode during deep Buddhist chanting while birds chirp the rhythm of your future jingle.

No...creativity comes out when you need a solution -- and none of the old solutions work. That’s when you get imaginative.

A Harvard Business Review article on creative thinking says it this way:

...Imagine ways out of the fix you’re in by imagining that the circumstances blocking your progress are being lifted one by one. This produces different versions of the challenge. One of these new hypothetical versions may well resemble a type of problem that you have solved in the past. Your mind will then fire out a whole new set of solutions, one or more of which may work. If the solution you select for the new version of the challenge is untypical for the original version, it can certainly qualify as a creative solution to the new one...

It’s like dreaming. One of the theories about why we dream states that we dream to prepare ourselves for things that maaaaaaaaybe, just maybe, will happen to us. This exercise in creativity goes the same way: by reimagining our situation to appear a tiny bit different, maybe we’ll see an out -- or an in -- that we couldn’t imagine before. You know, goof old fashioned mental magnet flipping.

When I'm stuck I pull out the typewriter and churn out lyrics from the Rolling Stones or The Dave Clark Five. It gets the melodies flowing in my head and the creative flows a bit better. Another motivational tool is looking at classic ads to reveal the brilliance and spark new thinking.

I stumbled across “Madman,” a Nike running classic from 1990. The mind can only remember so much, so when I see this ad, I can't but marvel at it's everything. The photography, the copywriting, the's one of the seminal pieces of advertising craft.

It's perfectly crafted with an economy of words that somehow has always driven my core feeling that less is more and more is less:

Mothers, there a mad man running in the streets,
And he’s humming a tune,
And he’s snarling at dogs,
And he still has four more miles to go.
Just do it.

Click to enlarge
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy
Art Director: David Jenkins
Copywriter: Jerry Cronin
Photography: Arthur Meyerson
First Published: Runner’s World, January 1990

Sunday, June 11, 2017

California Dreamin'

Okay so where am I?

I'm at the local 7-11 buying my twice weekly Powerball tickets. My grandfather always said I was going to win the lottery and I believed him. Today I have good reason to buy a couple of $2 orange tickets because the jackpot is worth about $447 million dollars.

Yes, a boy can dream!

Speaking of dreaming...What makes a winning ad? In a today’s advertising world, nearly anything can be turned into an ad. It doesn't seem to matter what's in the adgeckos, puppymonkeybabies, talking cowsthere’s still nothing quite like a little gambling fantasy to to remind you of the fundamentals of great copywriting and art direction.

On my way to the 7-11 I heard the California Lottery Powerball Commercial on the car radio and it is magical, yet the "Snowfall" television spot is even better.

From the first strike of the piano keys, the commercial sends chills through your imagination cortex.

The commercial shows white lottery balls falling from the sky like snow. The lotto balls fall in some of California's most famous landmarks including the Golden Gate Bridge, at the truck of the Sequoias, and Downtown Los Angeles. The balls fall in a swimming pool as a woman looks out the window, unsure of what she's seeing. People everywhere are looking up at the sky, watching the "snowfall". One man is standing in the pouring down lotto balls, when he holds out his hand and catches the red Powerball.

Yes, a boy can dream and sometimes dreams do come true.

The California Lottery wanted to go beyond showing the great things in life you can do with a lot of money, and focus instead of the possibility of winning the lottery -- a 1 in 175,223,510 shot , according to the Powerball website.

But still, you can't win without trying, and you won't try unless you believe in something bigger than yourself. The Scala and Kolacny Brothers' "California Dreamin'" cover sets the tone for this dreamy ad and the lyrics, perfectly composed by Mamas & Papas icons John Phillips and Michelle Phillips still conjure up the perfect image of a better life...


(Lyrics) All the leaves are brown (all the leaves are brown)
And the sky is gray (and the sky is grey)
I've been for a walk (I've been for a walk)
On a winter's day (on a winter's day)
If I didn't tell her (if I didn't tell her)
I could leave today (I could leave today)
California dreamin' (California dreamin')
On such a winter's day
California Dreamin'
On such a winter's day
California Dreamin'
On such a winter's day

Written Text over Final Bumper

Believe in something bigger
Powerball Logo
Jackpots starting at $40 Million

Monday, June 5, 2017

Scratching the Back of the Hand that Feeds You

Okay, so where am I?

I'm checking email and low and behold, hard work pays off sometimes. I just received notification that I am officially a 10-time Telly Award winner.

Always nice to be honored amongst the best in TV and cable, digital and streaming, and non-broadcast productions. In the old days I'd celebrate all week with some of ther other winners I know. Now? I'll toast to the achievement tonight and get back to the business of looking for the next big idea.

Speaking of the next "big idea," that idea was spawned by the genius of David Ogilvy. His formula seemed simple:

Big Ideas = Fame and Fortune

In his book OGILVY ON ADVERTISING, he shared a checklist to help decipher if an idea cqualified as a big idea:

  • Did it make me gasp when I first saw it?
  • Do I wish I had thought of it myself?
  • Is it unique?
  • Does it fit the strategy to perfection?
  • Could it be used for 30 years?

Ultimately, I've only have a few ideas that qualified by those standards. Motivation indeed!

Winning awards gives you pause to reflect on big ideas. One of the things I pull out in times of reflection is the "Scratching the Back of the Hand that Feeds You" memo authored by advertising icon Leo Burnett in December of 1958.

When Burnett — a hugely influential force in the industry who had a hand in creating Tony the Tiger, the Jolly Green Giant, and the Marlboro Man — heard that his admen were driving Fords instead of Chryslers and, goodness gracious, eating Wheaties over Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, he decided to give his staff a piece of his mind.

The three-page memo circulate through his agency reminding his staff of their unwritten duty to at least try the very products they helped to advertise to the nation; the sales of which funded their salaries. The sentiment of the green-papered memo (sorry, all I have is a black and white copy) of “believ[ing] in the products we advertise,” is juxtaposed with Burnett’s condemnation of the employees who eat competitors’ cereals (“I hope he chokes”), makes the memo a must-read. [See transcript after the visuals of the actual memo below.]


December 16, 1958


FROM: Leo Burnett

Re: Scratching the Back of the Hand that Feeds You

This is a land (and a company) of free choice and free speech.

In this memo I would like to exercise my own right to free speech to express some thoughts about choice. 

I hope you know me well enough to realize that your opportunities with this company have nothing whatsoever to do with your personal way of life or the products you use. Loyalty, obviously, cannot be legislated. 

Nevertheless, I would like to get off my chest some thoughts that have been smouldering for a long time. I present them only as the way I personally feel. If they don't relate to you, that's that, and no harm done. 

As you well know, your income and mine are derived 100% from the sale of the products of our clients. 

During the 36 years I have been in the agency business I have always been naively guided by the principle that if we do not believe in the products we advertise strongly enough to use them ourselves, or at least to give them a real try, we are not completely honest with ourselves in advertising them to others. 

The very least we can do is to remain neutral, and I guess this memo was touched off by two recent incidents. 

Recently I overheard one of our people sound off with some loud and derogatory remarks about what lousy cars Chrysler makes -- how they fall apart -- "I guess I'll stick to a Chevy, etc."

In another instance I heard one of our people who smokes Winstons, I believe, say to a group of outsiders, when offered a Marlboro, "I can't smoke those things!"

I'm sure you'll agree that this is going a bit too far. 

The net of the way I feel is this:

Naturally you don't need to do all your banking at Harris, but you should certainly think of Harris when opening a new or separate account. 

Maybe you don't eat canned vegetables, but if you do, those products with the Green Giant label should find a space in your shopping cart. 

Certainly nobody would suggest that you tear up your insurance program, but shouldn't you look at the Allstate story on any new coverage you want?

If the picture is still sharp on your old RCA, keep on looking, but do look at Motorola when you change. The same applies to vacuum cleaners and washing machines. 

Maybe you have bunions and need a special orthopedic shoe, but you might consider Buster Browns or Robinhoods for those nice, normal feet your kids run around on. 

When you go on your next car-trading expedition, one of the Chrysler lines should at least be on your looking-list. 

Generally, the products of our clients enable us to have a good breakfast, keep the house clean, wash our clothes, fertilize our lawns, neatly plaster up cuts and bruises, gas up the car (one of "ours"), insure it, keep our faces, teeth, and dishes clean, bake a cake or pie, have soup, tuna, spaghetti, peas or corn for lunch or dinner, send our hogs to market faster, make our hens lay more eggs, walk well-shod and relax with a good cigarette while we watch TV or listen to Stereo Hi-Fi.

I recognize the unconscious spirit of rebellious independence that exists in all of us, and the compulsion you or I may have to demonstrate that we wear no man's yoke. I have always felt, however, that there were better and more rewarding ways of doing this than in conspicuously avoiding or flouting the products of the people who pay our way. 

I'll let the kids off the hook. I don't believe in the principle of reminding them of where their living is coming from. (They'll learn soon enough as it is.) If, for example, they are attracted to a premium offered by General Mills or General Foods, bless their fickle little hearts. We'll catch 'em next time. 

I guess my feeling is pretty well summed up in the remarks of the vice-president of a competitive agency. When asked why he was smoking a not-too-popular brand of cigarettes which his company advertised, he replied:

"In my book there is 
no taste or aroma quite 
like that of bread and butter"

Leo Burnett/ms

P.S. Inasmuch as this memo expresses an entirely personal point of view, I can't resist adding that if any of us eats those nauseating Post Toasties or Wheaties, for example, in preference to the products of Kellogg's, I hope he chokes on them; and if any of us fertilizes his lawn without first trying Golden Vigoro, I hope it turns to a dark, repulsive brown. If you smoke cigarettes and your taste is so sensitive that it discriminates strongly between "our brands" and competitive ones, please, as a personal favor, don't put the competitive package in front of me on the conference room table, because it does things to my blood pressure. 



A couple of my Telly beauties...part of the big idea philosophy.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Good Luck and New Business

Okay, so where am I?

It's award season in the ad game and that means there are submissions to do in my spare time (yeah, what's that?) for such awards as the CLIOs, Tellys, the SHORTYS, the Effies, and more. Today, I spent the morning sifting through the 2016 to find the right pieces to submit. How blessed am I to have a stack of work to whittle down for awards competition? Pretty lucky!

So between submitting to the major awards and my Silver Council judging assignments for the Tellys, there hasn't been much time for anything except work, work, work...

The advertising and marketing business is no easy game. No only do you have to know your craft, but you have to schmooze, booze, and charm your way through life at an agency and with your client base. Every scenario requires its own truth and hoops to jump through. Each one has the potential to damage your soul and leave you as a walking shell of your former self.

And, if you can bring new business you're never going to make partner or be the lion of the ad agency pride. I have a quick study for those of you who need to work a room and excel.
Being great in the room makes you relevant and keeps you there. If you're a magician in the room, there will never be anyone who can block your arc.

So, what are the keys to pitching a new client? How do you  increase your chances of winning new business? Does the secret to pitching for business lie in the early stages of building the relationship?

I used to be able to rely on the good luck 1880 Morgan silver dollar that resided in my trousers front left pocket and my grandfather's sage advice running through my mind, “Focus all your effort on what is in your power to control.” You know what? It worked pretty well for a long, long time. The gift of gab did me well through my New York City and Los Angeles agency years.

Today, you can't just wing it. You have to do more than showcase yourself and your agency. You are required to do all of the work in advance and prove it while dazzling the pitch committee and building a rapport all at once.

So, what's the key to winning new business when the time comes for an agency to pitch a new client? Well, I have to tell you to NOT skip the good luck charm. Make sure you carry one and if you're challenged for ideas, see below for a rundown of the Top 15 from cultures around the globe. Seriously though...

...the best suggestions I've ever seen on pitching new business and new ideas came from the mind of Steve Jobs. He used to say, "Every new business pitch should do three things: inform, educate and entertain."He also said this smart stuff - follow it:
  • Plan your presentation with pen and paper. Begin by storyboarding your presentation. Jobs spent his preparation time brainstorming, sketching and white-boarding before he creating his presentation. All of the elements of the story that he wants to tell are well-thought with all elements planned and collected before any slides are created.
  • Create a single sentence description for every service/idea. Concise enough to fit in a 140-character Twitter post. An example, for the introduction of the MacBook Air, Jobs said that is it simply, “The world’s thinnest notebook.”
  • Create a villain that allows the audience to rally around the hero—you and your product/service. A ‘villain’ doesn’t necessarily have to be a direct competitor. It can be a problem in need of a solution.
  • Focus on benefits. This is important for ad agencies to remember. Your audience only cares about how your service will benefit them so lead with benefits rather than agency credentials and capabilities.
  • Stick to the rule of three for presentations. Almost every presentation devised by Jobs was divided into three parts. You might have twenty points to make, but your audience is only capable of retaining three or four points in short-term memory. Give them too many points and they’ll forget everything you’ve said.
  • Sell dreams, not your services. Jobs didn’t sell computers. He was passionate about helping to create a better world. That was the promise that he sold. For example, when Jobs introduced the iPod, he said, “In our own small way we’re going to make the world a better place.” Where most people see the iPod as a music player, Jobs saw it as a tool to enrich lives.
  • Create visual slides. There were no bullet points in a his presentations. Instead, he relied on photographs and images. When Jobs unveiled the Macbook Air, Apple’s ultra-thin notebook computer, he showed a slide of the computer fitting inside a manila inter-office envelope. Keep your agency presentations that simple.
  • Make numbers meaningful. Jobs always put large numbers into a context that was relevant to his audience. The bigger the number, the more important it is to find analogies or comparisons that make the data relevant to your audience.
  • Use plain English. Jobs’s language was remarkably simple. He rarely, if ever, used the jargon that clouds most presentations—terms like ‘best of breed’ or ‘synergy’. His language was simple, clear and direct. So don’t use agency speak when presenting, “integration, proprietary process, etc.”
  • Practice, practice, practice. Jobs spent hours rehearsing every facet of his presentation. Every slide was written like a piece of poetry, every presentation staged like a theatrical experience. He made a presentation look effortless but that polish came after hours and hours of arduous practice.

At the end of the day, remember that relationships matter. Get the chemistry right. What gets you through the finish line though is human chemistry. Why court business from people you wouldn't want to a long train with?

Making great ads is an intense process; and not a pleasant one with people you don't gel with. And, really, it's not just about winning new business but keeping it.


Good Luck Charms from Around the World

Monday, May 15, 2017

Metaphorical Empty Chair Mondays

Okay, so where am I?

I'm at the beach pondering life. Some days call for what I call "Metaphorical Empty Chair Mondays." These are deep days were I watch the sun rise or set above the California coast.

The sound of the sea lets me close my eyes and look for clarity. My soul evolves to feel the light rising. I set the chair out next to me to release the burdens that life injects into my inner core blocking the light of intelligence. My prayers are less spiritual, but more metaphorical. They act like white sage, first creating a fog and then burning away the negativity the blurs the vision. The empty chair creates the strength on the days I'm weak and broken. It's a place in my head where my thoughts can move and find life. Imagination is restored and roams free in the din of dusk. The empty chair provides the inspiration that connects with the sound. The sounds of meditation - the filter which allows the greatness I expect and demand.

Yeah, yea, pretty new agey. But what do you expect from a Media Guy who was forced to memorize astrological signs and moon and sun relations instead of watching Charlie's Angels in 1977? Honestly, meditation is a key factor from creative genius. Clear your mind of the B.S. and you can fill it with much better hubris; the kind that drives you to a higher place. That's what I needed today.

So what got me here? I suppose it was this spot that I wrote back in my misogyny days where sexiness sold:

It took almost four years, but it made it to the airwaves and my long-awaited $1,000 royalty check was finally released. Hallelujah(!) and apologies that my past commercials keep creeping into play. These days, my campaigns are tame and kid-friendly. That being said, the spot has already gained fertile ground in the Land of the Rising Sun and there's talk of a sequel. Jeez, what took them so long?!

But the euphoria of small-time cash didn't last long as I fantasized about creating that perfect advertising character and campaign that would put me in the lore of legend. Setting the bar high is not a new thing. I mean, I've won Clio Awards, Emmy Awards, Telly Awards and the like, but what's escaped me is that truly transcendent idea. My mind was clouded. I needed a refresh. That's where the beach came in. What a revolution it turned out to be.

He is the life of parties that he has never attended...
All of this got me thinking about staying thirty in my career. Of course, if you you're going to start thinking about staying thirsty my friends, you're going start thinking about Dos Equis. And, if you're going to think about Dos Equis, you're definitely going to think The Most Interesting Man in the World, their iconic spokesperson.

It's been over a decade since we first heard, "I don't always drink beer, but when I do I prefer Does Equis." It was at the beginning of the quirky ad campaign era, leading with an arrogant and unorthodox endorsement of the beer with pedestrian US sales. Unflinching, the phrase was delivered by the Most Interesting Man in the World, a Hemingway-esque bearded man who chronicled his unique adventures in globetrotting.

The campaign led the way to replace young and anonymous characters with a completely approach. Hemingway doppelgänger Jonathan Goldsmith embraced the role, confidently laughing his way through a canon of pithy short spots incredibly written and told through the prism of antiqued video footage. It was met with raised eyebrows and critic bashing. The campaign continued, found a following and the now Heineken-owned brand's sales rocketed up shot up 22%.

Now, in true Lord of the Flies form, Dos Equis has become the exact thing it didn't want when it started the campaign. Goldsmith has been replaced by (you guessed it) a younger, millennial-friendly 41-year-old Frenchman, Augustin Legrand. Goldsmith made his final appearance in a commercial that sent his character on a one-way mission to Mars and just as quickly, Legrand took up the campaign’s banner.

Andrew Katz, Dos Equis VP of Marketing explained, “The meaning of ‘interesting’ has evolved over the past decade, and this campaign features a new character and look and feel that opens the door to a world of interesting possibilities for today’s Dos Equis drinker.”

The news release explained it another way, stating it was “reinvigorating and modernizing ‘The Most Interesting Man in the World’ with a fresh face to showcase a character who reflects what is interesting to today’s Dos Equis drinker and to millennial beer drinkers 21 years and older.”

It remains to be seen how the next iteration of this character plays, out but the geniuses from the worldwide marketing firm Euro RSCG have their iconic character that I've dreamed of having on my resume. I can only guess that came from many mornings at the beach.


Here's some of my favorite claims to fame from "The Most Interesting Man in the World," a decade long compilation of Dos Equis ads:

“Presidents take his birthday off”
“He once had an awkward moment, just to see how it feels“
“His signature won a Pulitzer”
“He lives vicariously through himself“
“If opportunity knocks, and he’s not at home, opportunity waits“
“His 10-gallon hat holds 20 gallons”
“Bigfoot tries to get pictures of him“
“When he goes to Spain, he chases the bulls”
“Bear hugs are what he gives bears”
“He is the life of parties that he has never attended“
“In museums, he is allowed to touch the art“
“He has inside jokes with people he’s never met”
“His tears can cure cancer; too bad he never cries“
“He is considered a national treasure in countries he’s never visited”
“Once he ran a marathon because it was ‘on the way'”