The Dos Equis "Most Interesting Man in the World" campaign has been one of my favorite ad campaigns for a long time. I frequently use it as a example of authentic branding - which may seem like an oxymoron, but it's not. I promise.
The over-the-top nature of the Most Interesting Man IS authentic. It's so excessive it's obvious Dos Equis is aware of the silliness and is letting you, the consumer, in on the joke too. If the whole campaign wasn't fraught with "laugh with us!" overtones, it probably wouldn't work and certainly wouldn't feel authentic. The "Most Interesting Man" probably wouldn't work for a premium craft beer either - that's almost too on-the-nose. The theatrical tone works for a product that's decidedly mid - it's not top shelf and it's not garbage either.
In contrast, look at the tone of Woodford Reserve ads ("We love your Woodford way). They're incredibly serious and focused on traditionally upscale things that they come off as taking themselves very seriously, if not completely pretentious. Sure it's a more expensive brand than Dos Equis, but it isn't doing much to forge an authentic connection with Millennial consumers.
The authenticity of the "Most Interesting Man" campaign is further signified by the pre-tag line "I don't always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis." Again, Dos Equis isn't being presumptuous that consumers only drink beer and theirs is the only beer they drink. The word "prefer" is key there. And, who wouldn't want to check out what the world's most interesting man prefers?
Dos Equis recently announced a new actor will take over the "Most Interesting Man" role, which is disappointing. Contrary to popular belief, I don't think Millennials only relate to young people. Dos Equis was frequently named as a favorite ad campaign among Millennial men in my research. His age didn't matter, his swagger (and the funny descriptors), did. I hope Dos Equis doesn't overcorrect and make the new "Most Interesting Man" too young and too hipster. It will be interesting to see (sorry, couldn't resist!)
To close, my favorite line ever from the campaign - "He once shook his own hand to see what the fuss was all about."