The Most Interesting Man In The World

You know him. Beautifully bearded. Exceptionally dressed. That penetrating gaze. Wistfully contemplating yesteryear’s grandest exploits.

Yes, we ALL know Dos Equis’ Most Interesting Man In The World.

And why do we know him? Because two entry-level junior copywriters thought up the idea, 10 years ago, right before entering a big creative meeting at Euro RSCG empty-handed. The whole, wonderful story is told by Ad Age, and it reminds us of three important keys for innovators and creators to remember:

  1. Everyone has creative potential
  2. The power of two is more than just 1 + 1
  3. Bad ideas can grow into great ones

Everyone has creative potential

A receptionist thought up the idea for Nike’s late-80s blockbuster “Revolution” ad campaign. And two junior copywriters thought up Dos Equis’ Most Interesting Man In The World. These brilliant creations didn’t start with experienced ad creatives with a string of successes. They came from some of the people you’d least expect.

Who are the least-expected people in your organization, whom you might think to engage in imaginative thought? 

The power of two is more than just 1 + 1

One of my favorite literary lines of all time comes from G.K. Chesterton’s brilliant novel, The Man Who Was Thursday. It goes: “It may be conceded to the mathematicians that four is twice two. But two is not twice one; two is two thousand times one.” By which Chesterton meant that some kind of special power is created when two people come together in one effort.

Something more is unleashed than simply the additive power of two people. That’s why we so often use small group break-out exercises for our innovation sessions with clients. Many of the best ideas come when two or a few people get together and dream together.

(And if Chesterton seems a bit highbrow to any of my fellow GenXers, then perhaps the same idea is better communicated via this Saturday morning cartoon throwback catchphrase: “Wonder Twin Powers, Activate!”)

Who might you partner with for creative sessions?

Bad ideas can grow into great ones

Consider these recollections from the creators of the Most Interesting Man idea:

“I remember after we presented that idea for the first time, one of the CDs pulled us aside, told us how disappointed he was and said that we needed to up our game. He said he was worried we were turning into ‘Team So-So.’”


“The original tagline was a lame translation of the strategy statement, something like ‘Dos Equis: the most interesting beer in the world.’ Our challenge was always Can’t we say it without saying it? And right before the work was going to be shown at the [distributors] convention, Kling called me up and said, ‘I think I’ve got it. Would you consider changing the end line to Stay thirsty, my friends’?”

As the campaign’s creators tell the story, the original concept was that the Most Interesting Man was only slightly more interesting than most of the young millennial men who made up the target audience. Yet, the concept needed the Most Interesting Man to become fantastically exceptional in order to succeed.

What ideas have you cast aside? Might there be something there, after all? Something to build upon?

We can learn so much more from the Most Interesting Man’s creation story. Not the least of which is that brilliant ideas can, and often do, get killed by people who lack vision. At many turns, the Most Interesting Man campaign came >>thisclose<< to being killed. We’ve all been through such depressing experiences.

But we can’t control that. What can we control? Tap the creative power of Everyone…not just talented elites. Find a creative partner to imagine with, to dream with. And don’t give up on your ideas too quickly. Keep working on them, molding them, revamping them…because creative gold just might await you around the corner.

If you want to know more about the creative talents at Masterworks, contact me at