We spoke with Colin Westcott-Pitt, VP Marketing, Dos Equis, Amstel Light, Newcastle Brown Ale at Heineken USA, about what’s keeping the Most Interesting Man in the World campaign successful. Delivering consumer craving content and utilizing Facebook as both a research tool and a marketing channel is making Dos Equis a category leader.
Westcott-Pitt explains that the campaign’s success continues to be fueled by the same principles that were key to laying the initial foundation – specifically, the brand’s counter culture approach to beer category advertising and the use of a truly memorable and unique character that resonates with their consumer. “Sophomoric humor has long been a category staple, and the majority of our competitor’s advertising was insulting our consumer’s intelligence. There was, and continues to be an opportunity for Dos Equis to stand out in the crowd by acknowledging and harnessing our consumer’s thirst for intelligent humor,” said Westcott-Pitt.
Whether it is through the “legend lines” that spread the lore of the Most Interesting Man (MIM) or the bits of advice that he provides directly, the writing has a sharp wit that has been embraced and mimicked by Dos Equis consumers. Similarly, the MIM is a character who personifies the adventurous, charismatic, and witty men their consumers aspire to be. According to Westcott-Pitt, “it is through careful management of his “old school character” and mindful choices regarding exposure of his legend that we keep our consumers thirsting for the next episode or escapade of the MIM. For example, while you may see the brand tweeting about activations and promotions, under no circumstances will you ever encounter the MIM doing the same…unless he’s speaking with birds.”
Forbes: Dos Equis has over 1.89 million fans on Facebook – a number that shadows the amount of consumers that visit the brand’s website. How are you activating these consumers?
Westcott-Pitt: We interact with them, asking their opinion and building programs off of it. For example, at the end of 2011, we launched the Most Interesting Jam Spread, exclusively asking our Facebook fans for ingredient suggestions for the spread. Within the first hour, more than 920 ideas were posted. And within 30 minutes of posting a link to our eBay auction for one jar of the jam on Facebook, the bidding for the jam shot from $75 to more than $700, with the final bid within 24 hours passing $1,000.
What is the brand doing this year in social to raise the bar?
Each day, countless fans post their own “Legend Lines” about the Most Interesting Man on the Facebook page and we reward them for their active participation. Building on our Legendary Fan Lines Facebook app, this March we’ll be ratcheting up the competition with “The Most Interesting March Tournament.” Fans will be able to submit their original Most Interesting Man line for tournament spots and fill out their own bracket for a chance to earn recognition from the brand and interesting prizes. For six days – all exclusively on Facebook – our fan community can engage in live voting and commenting, ultimately determining the victorious line.
You regard the brand’s Facebook page as your largest, most dynamic focus group at your fingertips 24/7. Please elaborate.
We value their opinion and we know that they’re our toughest critics: They don’t hesitate to give us an honest response to our posts. We encourage a transparent and open dialogue between our customers and our brand and that means we can use Facebook to test ideas and initiatives before we release them to a larger audience.
Brands and consumers now have the closest and most immediate forms of communication that they’ve ever had. This can be a challenge sometimes, but it’s also an incredible opportunity. What is your strongest advice to marketers?
Many marketers enter social media with the notion that to master their brand’s social media profile they need to be active everywhere – Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Flickr, YouTube, etc. However, when you stretch your brand too thin, your content and brand position can become weak. What’s been extremely valuable and successful for Dos Equis has been focusing on one medium really well. All of our initiatives – online and offline – make it really easy and clear for our fans as everything drives to the Facebook page. And, of course, what can be one of the hardest things for marketers: Let go. When you open up the conversation and give your fans a voice – that’s where the good stuff, the true engagement, plays.
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