Ryan Reynolds is rewriting the celebrity-investor playbook

Ryan Reynolds used his marketing magic to sell Aviation Gin for $610m. Now he’s trying to make it happen with Mint Mobile.

For years, my favorite Ryan Reynolds character was Van Wilder, a “7th-year senior” whose life goal is to help undergrads at Coolidge College.

Ryan Reynolds is rewriting the celebrity-investor playbook

But per TechCrunch, real life Ryan is busy helping blow up brands in both sexy and unsexy industries.

In August, Aviation Gin (a spirits company he co-owns) sold for $610m to Diageo. Now, Mint Mobile (a mobile virtual network operator he co-owns) is on the rise.

Celebrity business collaborations are big on hype…

… but it often doesn’t bring “much value other than the initial press wave,” per TechCrunch.

Alicia Keys (Blackberry) and Lady Gaga (Polaroid) became the “creative directors” for 2 corporate laggards that couldn’t turn around their fortunes.

Ashton Kutcher was Lenovo’s “product engineer” for the Yoga 2 Tablet (this one doesn’t even need a joke).

Celebrity investments also have a checkered history: Jay-Z (streaming service Tidal), Justin Bieber (photo app Shots), Justin Timberlake (a social network that wasn’t Facebook).

Reynolds has 50m+ followers across Twitter and Instagram

Instead of random brand shoutouts, the Deadpool star leverages his own marketing agency — Maximum Effort (co-founded with George Dewey) — to make timely ads, like Aviation Gin’s riff on “Peloton Wife.”

“We get to acknowledge and play with the cultural landscape in real time,” Reynolds tells TechCrunch.

For Mint, that includes:

  • A $125k New York Times Super Bowl full-pager noting that print is cheaper than a $5m TV spot (with savings going to customers).
  • A 5G video explainer that ends with “we may never know what 5G is, so we’ll just give it away for free.”

He calls it “fast-vertising.” And whatever that really means, it’s working: Mint’s revenue has grown 500x in the last 3 years.

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