The Really Most Interesting Man in the World

I am no fan of Heineken beer, as beer. But Heineken as a cultural force is something else again. I take my hat off to any company responsible for an ad like the one below, "The Entrance." Yes, you've seen it already, but why not enjoy it once more -- and stay around for a little bit of video compare-and-contrast. Here's the short version that usually runs on TV, and which I'm reminded of by having seen it during Friday's Lake People-Calves NBA playoff game:

The comparison with the three-minute long internet version, below, is fascinating for what it shows about the editing and artistry that went into the short final release. The long version provides a lot more airtime for the bubbly blonde singer, Mette Lindberg of the Danish group Asteroids Galaxy Tour, which is fine, especially in the snappy opening. [See, it's not all Pomplamoose around here.] And it fleshes out a few of the "plot" elements in the ad. But after you see it, you realize that everything that matters was captured, better, in the version that's only one-fourth as long, with nothing extraneous left in. It's like a poem version of an essay. Don Draper would have been proud, and perhaps would have wanted to play the leading role.

For the record, Mr. Cool in this ad is a French actor, Eric Monjoin. And while I would generally take a Dos XX over a Heineken, I think the Most Interesting Man in the World crown has passed from Mexico's control back to Western Europe.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

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