He doesn’t always retire. But when he does, he prefers it to be on Mars.
Jonathan Goldsmith, the 77-year old actor best known for his role as Dos Equis’ “Most Interesting Man in the World,” will appear in his final commercial for the Mexican-themed beer brand owned by Dutch brewer Heineken, on Thursday (during the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers game on TNT — the last match-up between Kobe Bryant and LeBron James)
The 60-second spot, “Mission to Mars,” focuses on the Most Interesting Man’s final moments before he punches a one-way ticket to outer space. The message? He isn’t coming back to earth.
In a press release, Heineken said it is retiring Goldsmith’s character, but not the popular Dos Equis campaign itself.
“We know ‘The Most Interesting Man in the World’ will continue to endure and grow, as the character’s story is bigger than one individual,” Andrew Katz, vice president of marketing for Dos Equis said via the statement. “Stay Thirsty isn’t just a tagline – it’s a mindset Dos Equis embraces daily to connect with our consumer and inspire everything we do.”
First launched in 2006, The Most Interesting Man in the World campaign was an unlikely success. Originally pitched by marketing firm Euro RSCG (now Havas Worldwide), the idea was to attract drinkers to the brand with an old man who admitted that he doesn’t always drink beer.
At the time, it was Andy Thomas and Ken Kunze, now CEO and CMO of Craft Brew Alliance, respectively, who helped green light the project.
“Most Interesting Man influenced the way Heineken thought about even Heineken,” Thomas told Brewbound in 2013.
According to Thomas, the campaign not only boosted Dos Equis sales — it’s now a top 15 brand and dollar sales were up 9.5 percent over the last 52 weeks, according to IRI — buts it also helped Heineken executives realize they could relate to consumers without depending on more traditional marketing techniques.
It also spawned countless parodies, Internet memes and millions of YouTube views along the way.
The decision to part ways with Goldsmith also comes at a time when the actor — who at one time worked as a garbage truck driver in Hollywood before landing roles alongside the likes of Burt Lancaster, Clint Eastwood and John Wayne — is embroiled in a breach-of-contract lawsuit with his former talent agency, Gold Levin Talent, which claims Goldsmith failed to pay commissions.
“There is nothing interesting about being a deadbeat or failing to pay those directly responsible for one’s career success,” a complaint reads. “As it now turns out, had Goldsmith landed a role that more accurately portray[ed] his true character, he would have landed the role of ‘The Least Honorable Man in the Entertainment Business.'”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Goldsmith recently filed a cross complaint alleging that he had separately negotiated a new contract with Heineken to continue being the front man for the Dos Equis brand and that confidentiality clauses restricted the disclosure of terms.
“Upon information and belief, Cross-Defendants disclosed the terms of the confidential 2012 Agreement, in violation of the agreement’s strict confidentiality provision and Cross-Defendants’ fiduciary relationship,” states the cross-complaint, which also alleges that disclosure “badly damaged Jonathan’s business relationship with Advertiser and jeopardized his future as the spokesperson for Dos Equis beer.”
Goldsmith’s potential earnings from the Dos Equis partnership in 2016 totaled $1.07 million and the legal battle was not a factor in the decision to part ways with the actor, according to AdAge.
“We decided some time ago that it is time for us to evolve the campaign and that’s exactly what we are doing,” Katz told the outlet.