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.

December 1, 2020

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

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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