For close to a decade, Dos Equis has mildly charmed TV viewers with the exploits of The Most Interesting Man In The World, a tan, bearded, older gentleman who lives up to his nickname in commercials featuring glimpses of his various exploits in places that resemble Monaco or a former Dutch colonial island.
USA Today reports that Dos Equis is retiring the character as played by Jonathan Goldsmith, the 77-year-old actor (interesting in his own right) who has been the face of the brand since April 2007, in order to bring in "another equally interesting and likely younger man…in order to keep their edge for a new generation of customers." Generation Y strikes again!
Dos Equis is sending him off…to space, starting with this teaser for what promises to be "his greatest adventure yet": a one-way trip to Mars.
In honor of this proto-meme's last hurrah, let's take a look back at Goldsmith's time as one of the most popular characters on TV and some of the weirder characteristics of The Most Interesting Man In The World, a man who once ran a marathon because it was on his way.
The first commercial featuring the character saw him freeing a bear from a trap, arm-wrestling a Fidel Castro lookalike and viewers learning that "his blood smells like cologne." And so began his well-documented preference for Dos Equis.
Interestingly, it appears that he's traveled to space previously (maybe because he can slam a revolving door).
"If opportunity knocks, and he's not home, opportunity waits" is basically the ideal of absurdity and braggadocio these commercials aimed for.
C'mon, "sharks have a week dedicated to him" is pretty funny.
"He bowls overhand" and has a mountain lion as a pet?!
If you watch enough of these commercials, it all gets a little repetitive, the formula unmistakable, but then a zinger like, "at museums, he's allowed to touch the art" reel you right back in.
But, at the same time, when you see him leading a group of well-dressed people, and a ship captain, somewhere, armed only with a flashlight, you kind of want to know how the situation came about, right?
Naturally, like most pop culture ephemera, the character became popular to use in memes. From the silly and nerdy:
…the meta (and impossible to deny):
..and by people who don't know how memes work.
But you get the best sense for how this ad campaign affected a nation on YouTube, where compilation videos are abundant. Here's a compilation that is nearly 15 minutes long:
This one is shorter.
Both of those videos have more than 300,000 views and there are a lot of them on YouTube. This silly character really touched something with the American public (with a big voiceover assist from a very game Will Lyman of Frontline).
In a 2015 NPR interview, Goldsmith revealed that his former agent (and current wife) Barbara was told by the casting director at the time that they wanted to go younger for the part. She replied, "How can the most interesting man in the world be young?" That rhetorical got him the part. But now it appears Dos Equis is going to attempt to answer that question—an ignoble end to an apparently beloved character.
David Matthews operates the Wayback Machine on Fusion.net—hop on. Got a tip? Email him: email@example.com