Dos Equis is a Mexican beer brand. Not a light lager like Corona or Sol. It's interesting. Even the way the product is described is…interesting:
DOS EQUIS AMBAR
A robust, classic Vienna-style lager with a full body. A beer with brawn from Germany, swagger from Mexico, and the finest North American pale and roasted malts. An amber-colored refreshment that’s adventurous enough to be distinctly flavorful. A hot-blooded redhead that’s best enjoyed ice-cold.
Their front-man is The Most Interesting Man In The World. So interesting that 'he imagines himself in his own shoes', 'so interesting he speaks French…in Russian. The campaign has been running for some time now, since 2006. Each brand commercial ends with the carefully crafted line: "I don't always drink beer. But when I do I prefer Dos Equis." Think about that for a moment. It doesn't make any claim about the beer and, out of context, it is almost watery. But add in the character (who, interestingly, has no name), and his extravagant Munchausian tales and it is anything but insipid. It clearly isn't designed to drive category sales - that's the job of the market leader anyway - not that of an interesting niche brand. Dos is for moderate drinkers - it's not a 'session' beer. If you are a bar owner this will make you happy. This guy drinks less and pays more for it (and he is so interesting that he attracts beautiful women who order expensive cocktails).
Of course it is all illusion. But the brand has struck out with a clever, simple proposition. It ignores the trend of reflecting the target audience back at themselves in tortured semi-real scenarios. It takes interestingness to a higher plane - and without the over-the-top desperation of a Superbowl ad.
What can you learn from Dos Equis?
1. Ignore the conventions of your category
The Dos Equis campaign might be a nod to the era when suave men over-promised the benefits of Smirnoff to schmucks but its position is unique in current beer marketing - unfashionable even. in a way that makes it 'hip' - but hip isn't all about sailor tattoos and single speed push bikes.
2. Alienate some people
There are people who will find the Dos Equis campaign disagreeable for one reason or another. The ad featured has been criticized for objectifying female bob-sledders. But not being to everybody's taste is the point. Great stories have protagonists and antagonists. You cannot appeal to all people. When I order a Dos and you order a Corona we both should know that I am interesting and you are, well, …a Corona drinker.
3. Plug away
Developing a brand is like sailing a yacht. The journey will take some time. The winds and currents will shift during the journey. You know where you are heading but sometimes you will have to change tack to take advantage of favourable breezes or avoid being becalmed. Dos Equis has been building its story over time. It has become, if not a household name, a sensation. The commercials may not have been made for the internet (in the beginning at least), but they are made for the internet. "I may not always drink beer, but when I do …" has become a cultural meme. These things take time and perseverance and sometimes a little luck. If the brand's owners had changed their campaign annually as some beer brands do, maybe the results might not have been so golden for Dos Equis. Results? U.S. sales increased each year between 2006-2010 and tripled in Canada in 2008. Sales of Dos Equis are said to have increased by 22% at a time when sale of other imported beer fell 4% in the U.S.
Dos Equis Website.
Interestingness can't be underestimated in developing your marketing messages. This clip dates back to 2006 but it is worth watching.
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