"This show is kind of offensive," texted one event worker, soberly looking out at the swarms of 20-somethings bobbing somewhere between euphoria and intoxication, as scantily clad trapeze artists and death-defying gymnasts and Parisian burlesque dancers made their way on stage, one after the next. Likely, the worker wasn't actually too disgruntled over the political incorrectness of it all—just feeling dispirited that she couldn't partake in the revelry that was The Most Interesting Show in the World.
Thrown by Dos Equis' ultra-suave Most Interesting Man in the World and rock-star, club-owner, and Destroy Build Destroy Cartoon Network show host Andrew WK, the party is part of a 17-city nationwide tour. The free event features dozens and dozens of acts and sideshows, limitless Dos Equis, and, as far as I can tell, was created with the sole purpose of building good will for the brand among consumers. A source tells me Dos Equis is spending several million dollars on the tour, and that doesn't include the costs of the company's awsome recent Cargo Hunt. I caught the New York City leg last night at Webster Hall, where mobs of fans waited for the slight chance of a peek at the Most Interesting Man in the World.
The night was sure to offend a party-goer or two. But it impressed more than it offended, and serves as an innovative example of meta-advertising, a technique Dos Equis has perfected to help bolster its brand.
"He's as nice and interesting as you'd ever hope," Andrew WK tells Fast Company, of The Most Interesting Man. "Of course, like anybody, you always wonder, are these legendary figures really the way they are portrayed? And he was. He was presented with a portfolio on me, and he approved of my general attitude more than my specific adventures, because I couldn't really compete with him in terms of his worldliness. But I think he saw in me maybe a younger version of himself. We share a passion for adventure."
Keep in mind The Most Interesting Man does not actually exist. He's a fictional spokesman, created to tick off hilarious, hyperbolic doings. (He is the only man to ever ace a Rorschach test...He has amassed an incredibly large DVD library, and it is said that he never once alphabetized it... He's been known to cure narcolepsy, just by walking into the room.) But to Dos Equis, Andrew WK, and the brilliant team bringing the character to life, he couldn't be realer. He throws parties. He writes newsletters. He has adventures and opinions, as evidenced by this pamphlet-invitation sent out to attendees:
The Most Interesting Show in the World itself delivered everything it promised.
Inside, crowds huddled together, downing gallons of amber Dos Equis, all under the watchful eye of The Most Interesting Man's portrait.
In many ways, the show was a traveling circus, fronted by the endlessly energetic Andrew WK (who, unexpectedly, has been an avid reader of Fast Company since our Malcolm Gladwell issue), forever amping up the audience.
Acts included the Great Merlini, who, that night, actually broke the world record for holding his breath underwater...A balancing act rolled around, upside-down on top of a basketball, on stacks of bottles, before attempting a more dangerous trick above a saw blade ...
The Bubble Man wowed crowds with his unique gigantic bubble maker...
Illusionist Elliot Zimet proved he could turn anything into pigeons or fire or an ice cold beer ...
And the Ice Sisters twirled and contorted, trickling confetti down ...
... on the mesmerized audience.
At some point, you start forgetting that you're at an event for The Most Interesting Man in the World. Where is he? Why did he throw this party? Why is Dos Equis dropping loads of cash on this nationwide tour?
"Well, they're certainly hitting their target demographic," said one attendee, in his mid-20s. Given, this smiling party-goer was guzzling what was likely his eighth Dos Equis, and ready to gulp down a chicken slider. But isn't that the point?