Dos Equis finds new ways to be interesting

Sandbox's first major Canada-specific work for the beer is a branded content series putting people into extraordinary jobs around the world.

Dos Equis is changing how we see the 9-to-5 workday with a branded content campaign that’s getting regular Canadians to experience more “interesting” lines of work.

In the first episode of “Apply Within,” the brand flew Karim, an office worker from Montreal, to Mexico City to train as a luchador with CMLL, the longest-running professional wrestling company in Mexico. In between training sessions with multi-time CMLL champion Shocker and live CMLL shows, Karim explains how the experience is different from his day-to-day life in Montreal as he tours Mexico City with his local guide Diego, sampling the town’s food, music and architecture.

The campaign was led by Sandbox’s Toronto office, with MEC handling a media strategy that sought to bring the campaign to the “9-to-5 world” with ads for the open positions in classifieds as well as 15- and 30-second cuts of the video playing on elevator screens. The full, 15-minute version of the video is playing on the Dos Equis Canada website and social channels. A two-minute version is airing on Viceland and teasers driving to the full video will be used on the Vice Canada website and other digital channels.

Further episodes of “Apply Within” will be rolled out over the next three months. Earlier this week, the successful applicant for the treasure diver position was flown to Sardinia, Italy, for the shoot. The postings for Korean soap opera actor, a late-night food critic and a member of a sailing crew in Nova Scotia are still open on the Dos Equis website.

Sandbox won the Canadian work for Dos Equis last year, and “Apply Within” is the first major national campaign it has developed for the Canadian market, having previously created some small social assets, activations for the Quebec market and adaptations of global assets featuring “The Most Interesting Man in the World.”

Jacob Gawrysiak, co-CD at Sandbox Toronto, says “Apply Within” actually began as more of a below-the-line activation based around the classified ads for the jobs as a way to develop a local Dos Equis program that could work “in parallel” with the brand’s “Most Interesting Man In The World” campaigns. As local interest grew, so did the investment in the program.

Dos Equis and U.S. agency Havas famously “retired” the Most Interesting Man in the World spokesman in March with a spot that sent him into space. While the brand has said it will debut a new actor for the role later this year, Gawrysiak says the agency was looking to do something locally that connected Dos Equis with Canadians by putting the brand itself at the forefront, instead of just a mascot.

“I think his popularity overshadowed the brand in a lot of ways,” Gawrysiak says of The Most Interesting Man. “What we’ve been struggling with here in Canada is programming that connects with consumers. Obviously it’s one of the most successful campaigns of the last decade, but connecting the messaging around him back to the beer and the brand’s credentials has been lost. The idea was really about shifting the brand from focusing just on The Most Interesting Man to focusing on the brand values and its core attributes.”

While “The Most Interesting Man” relied on hyperbolic claims of greatness to show how to “live a life less ordinary,” this campaign is bringing the brand back down to earth and creating interesting experiences that are still attainable. Gawrysiak says a major insight was that one of the main things holding people back from doing interesting things was their “9-to-5″ routine, so “Apply Within” is attempting to shift perceptions about what that routine looks like for different people around the world. He points out that these are real jobs that participants had to go through an interview process for, and every episode will show not just what makes the jobs exciting, but how they come with their own routines and realities.

“Diving for treasure might seem like a dream vacation kind of thing, but a lot of the treasure divers there are doing it because it preserves culture,” he says. “It’s about the way the people in these jobs are perceived and how the status they hold goes beyond the task of the job itself. We’re examining the value in what they do and how that impacts their own work-life balance, something that’s a major concern for our target.”