How Ryan Reynolds Took the Advertising World by Storm


Ryan Reynolds has transformed into an advertising genius. By cleverly blending his signature humor, Reynolds has created some of the most remarkable ad campaigns with Deadpool 2, Aviation Gin, and Mint Mobile. Let’s look at how Ryan Reynolds has adopted an unorthodox approach to creating memorable ads.

Besides being known for his role in the Deadpool movies, a witty Twitter presence, and his banters with Hugh Jackman, Ryan Reynolds is also the co-founder of the ad agency, Maximum Effort Productions. He heads the agency with George Dewey, content, communication, and creative professional who has worked at McCann, SpaceX, and Twentieth Century Fox. The duo decided to formalize the venture in 2018 after their marketing efforts for Deadpool 2 raked in $785 million at the box office.

To avoid over-ornamentation and grandiosity of ideas and creativityOpens a new window , Reynolds and Dewey work on self-imposed stricter deadlines, break the advertising norms, and keep the ad budgets under $1 million. Two major clients of Maximum Effort Productions are Aviation American Gin and Mint Mobile, both of which Ryan Reynolds happens to hold ownership stakes in.

In this article, let’s look at how Ryan Reynolds has shaken the advertising world by his witty and quirky ad campaigns.

1. Deadpool 2

Ryan Reynolds continued his marketing shenanigans for the promotion of Deadpool 2 that had started with the promotion of its predecessor. For a superhero movie, Deadpool 2 was produced on a modest budget of $110 million. Therefore, the sequel focused on producing content that was off-beat and witty to keep viewers talking about it. For instance, Deadpool 2 began its promotion with a parody video of Bob Ross’ The Joy of Painting.

(Caution: The Merc with a Mouth has been very generous with NSFW language throughout the video.)

A Parody Video of Bob Ross’ The Joy of Painting For Deadpool 2 Promotions

The promotion also included Fox Home Entertainment working with creative agency, Neuron SyndicateOpens a new window to design customized DVD covers featuring Deadpool for movies like X-Men, Fight Club, and The Terminator. These DVDs were placed in Walmart across the U.S.

We’re all living in 2018. Deadpool 2’s marketing team is living in 3018. a new window

— Blake Northcott 🐈 (@BlakeNorthcott) May 16, 2018Opens a new window

Deadpool Hijacked the DVD Covers of Several Movies at Walmart Stores Across the U.S. Ahead of Its Promotion

The antihero, Deadpool, also made amends with David BeckhamOpens a new window for his rude comments in the original Deadpool and appeared in Céline Dion’s music videoOpens a new window .

Learn More: 5 Simple Interactive Marketing Ideas for 2020Opens a new window  

2. Aviation American Gin

Ryan Reynolds recently became the owner of Aviation American Gin, and since then has created some hilarious ads. The company partnered with Virgin AtlanticOpens a new window to serve the gin on flights and in its Clubhouse lounges. While the video featured Sir Richard Branson and Ryan Reynolds talking about the partnership, it adopted an unconventional approach towards announcement videos wherein ReynoldsOpens a new window uses business terms, but of course, in his signature witty style.

The gin brand later created an ad where Reynolds narrates the process of making Aviation Gin. The hilarious monologue was written by Opens a new window Ryan Reynolds and George Dewey.

Ryan Reynolds also managed to bring the faux war between him and Hugh Jackman to create a co-branded effort. The video ad featured both promising to call a truce by creating ads for each other’s companies, and it ends with Hugh Jackman ridiculing Aviation Gin.

The Co-Branded Video Ad Promotes Aviation Gin and Hugh Jackman’s Laughing Man Coffee

But the one ad that outshines the rest is his Samsung TV ad that promotes his Netflix movie, 6 Underground, and also features his Aviation Gin ad – an ad inception!

Ryan Reynolds’ Latest Samsung Ad Promotes Three Brands

Learn More: What Are the Best Marketing Channels for Millennials in 2020?Opens a new window  

3. Mint Mobile

Mint Mobile ran its first Super Bowl ad in 2019. But this year, the company chose to take a different approach to advertise during the Super Bowl game. Rather than spending approximately $5 million for a 30-second ad slot, Mint Mobile decided to waive-off the $15 per month fees for the first three months of service for customers who sign-up between kickoff and the final whistle of Super Bowl Sunday.

To announce the offer, the mobile carrier bought an ad on the front page of the New York Times.

Everyone’s buying ads so I bought one too. Not on TV. In the @nytimesOpens a new window . #classyOpens a new window a new window

— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) January 29, 2020Opens a new window

Ryan Reynolds’ Ad in the New York Times to Promote Mint Mobile’s Super Bowl Offer

Christopher Sebela, a Portland, Oregon based comic book writer, jokingly tweeted to RyanOpens a new window asking if he can buy another full-page ad for the photo of Christopher’s dog. Ryan Reynolds surprised Christopher by running a full-page ad in the Oregonian.

Done. @xtopOpens a new window a new window

— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) February 1, 2020Opens a new window

Mint Mobile and Ryan Reynolds’ Full-page Ad Featuring Christopher Sebela’s Dog

Learn More: Super Bowl 2020 Campaigns That Took the Internet by StormOpens a new window  

The Lessons

Considering the growth of the agency, Reynolds and Dewey have decided to split the company into two divisions, viz., Maximum Effort Productions and Maximum Effort Marketing. Here are four lessons learned from Ryan Reynolds’ quirky approach to advertising:

  1. Know how to break the status-quo. Reynolds’ ads thrive on parodying the cookie-cutter ads of product categories (for instance, the Aviation Gin adOpens a new window which follows the aesthetics of a typical alcoholic beverage ad but quips on it throughout)
  2. Considering the personal brand, Reynolds prefers to be the face of the companies he owns. Other entrepreneurs who also follow this approach include Sir Richard Branson and Gary Vaynerchuk.
  3. Aim to make memorable ads by evoking emotion, in this case, humor. Being edgy can surprise and entertain customers, which will keep them talking about you.
  4. Be relevant. Aviation Gin’s parody adOpens a new window surrounding Peloton’s exercise bike controversy was hilarious and with a turnaround time of 15 days! Using trending topics while they are still hot can grab eyeballs if done in good taste.

While Ryan Reynolds might be blessed with this kind of humor and wit, it’s not impossible to develop for your brand voice. Since humor is one of the key emotions that can attract customers, consider how you can apply it.

Take a risk, break the advertising norms, and stand out by doing something other brands have never dreamt of. This will not only ensure you are seen in the crowd of advertisers but will also earn you a definite fan following and loyalty.

Tell us your favorite marketing learnings from Ryan Reynolds’ advertising strategy on LinkedInOpens a new window , FacebookOpens a new window , or TwitterOpens a new window .