Professional sports has dealt with this for years: the Mets trading Tom “The Franchise” Seaver to the Reds, LeBron James leaving Cleveland for Miami (then coming back and now maybe moving on to Los Angeles?), Brett Favre leaving Green Bay for the archrival Vikings (best t-shirt ever seen in a Wisconsin gas station: “We’ll never forget you Brent.”).
That same phenomena has just hit advertising for the second time in less than a year as the recently-canned ‘most interesting man in the world’ switches from Dos Equis to tequila…
A year ago, watching the Verizon Guy switch to Sprint seemed kind of icky. After nine years of making very good money simply for wearing a grey jacket and asking “Can you hear me now?”, switching sides came off as crassly opportunistic on his part and evidence of a continued lack of ideas on Sprint’s.
But for whatever reason, this one feels personal. For ten years, Jonathan Goldsmith’s brilliant portrayal (and Havas’ exceptionally brilliant creativity) built this little known brand, nearly tripling sales in a declining category. The work was counter trend, it was memorable, and it worked.
Until that inevitable day when a new, over-educated but under-clever brand team decided their advertising needed to ‘reflect the consumer’ more and so they chucked Jonathan aside, recasting the role with a guy who can best be described as Michael Phelps bearded cousin.
Which didn’t really work as well. So the brand team took the inevitable next step and fired Havas.
That is where the true brand disloyalty lies.
And that’s why this move cheers me so. That’s why I love the intrinsic snark in a line like “I told you I don’t always drink beer.” And that’s why, though I fully understand the only place most consumers will ever see the ‘TV ads’ from this tiny tequila that barely has a website will be on social media, I applaud their streetsmart sassiness. And yes, I will pick up a bottle of Astral.
Because they took care of a friend. You know, like Dos Equis should have.