Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Was the politicization of "The Most Interesting Man in the World" intentional?

Dos Equis is facing a veritable shitstorm of social media controversy on the Facebook page, simply because Jonathan Goldsmith, the actor they hired for their hugely popular campaign, "The Most Interesting Man in the World," is hosting a fundraiser for US President Obama:

There are some positive comments too, and both types of posts inspire similar low-level flamewars that degenerate into name-calling and some casual racism. (On a side note, up here in Canada we find the claim that President Obama is a "socialist" to be risible.)

This is probably just a minor headache for the American importer of Dos Equis, Heineken USA. They told Ad Age: "Mr. Goldsmith's opinions and views are strictly his own, and do not represent those of Dos Equis" but don't appear to have made any effort to address the issue on their Facebook page.

Maybe they are just sitting back to see what happens. Other brands have waded in to politics, which is a high-risk strategy. But with risk comes the possibility of above-average rewards. Especially if you know your target audience.

Last August, ABC news reported on the correlation between brand preference and political views on Facebook, as reported by Microstrategy's Wisdom application.

Here is one of the findings:
Dos Equis, the Mexican lager known for its "Most Interesting Man in the World" commercials, may be a better choice if Obama is looking to show camaraderie with his 27 million Facebook fans. 
About 24,000 of Obama's Facebook supporters in the Wisdom database, which represents about 3 percent of all Obama's Facebook fans, are also Dos Equis fans, making Obama supporters about 6 percent more likely to like Dos Equis than the average Wisdom Facebook user. Obama fans are only 4 percent more likely to "like" Bud Light.

Could Heineken USA have secretly condoned the appearance? The Obama/Biden fundraising site actually calls Goldsmith "the actor who portrays The Most Interesting Man in the World." And while Jonathan Goldsmith can do what he wants as a citizen, professional spokespeople are usually contractually obligated to avoid any public behaviour that can bring negative attention to the brand. 

Could this have been a strategic piece of off-the-books political marketing? Now that's an interesting thought.

Thanks to Copyranter for the tip.

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