Editors’ picks: The best Ryan Reynolds ads of all time

The Drum 24 Jun 2021 02:11

Ryan Reynolds has turned advertising on its head during the past three years with the launch of his creative agency Maximum Effort. So much so that when we were pitched a story about Maximum Effort being acquired by a CTV player called MNTN, we thought we were being had. Well, the news is real and it appears Reynolds has done it again after selling Aviation Gin to Diageo for a small fortune. In honor of this news, The Drum decided to celebrate Reynolds' good fortune with a look back at five of our favorite spots from adland’s favorite trickster.

The gift that does not give back

'Twas three weeks before Christmas and Peloton came under immense fire (well before the Tread+ recall PR fiasco) because of a tone-deaf 2019 holiday ad called ‘The gift that gives back.’ It featured a wife receiving an exercise bike from her husband and chronicled her unbridled enthusiasm about the gift. The internet had a field day and so did Ryan Reynolds’ Aviation Gin.

She chugs an Aviation Gin martini before her friend slides over a second cocktail to help ease her pain. Her friend chimes, “Going to be a fun night,” and caps it with the kicker: “You look great, by the way!” Reynolds tweeted out the spot with the message “exercise bike not included” #AviationGin.

—Kenneth Hein, US Editor

This voicemail message left for Mint Mobile customers, informing them about a data deal to help them through lockdown, features the actor and ad man opining about the ennui of the pandemic, as a customer update turns into an impromptu confessional. The ad provoked thousands of return calls to Reynolds from Mint customers, some of which were packaged together for a further response creative by the brand's team.

Welcome to Wrexham

A Welsh translator absolutely roasts the pair — and they take it very well. Everything coming out of this agency is appointment viewing, whether the hardcore ad folk like to admit it or not. And I know you’re watching, because we keep writing about it. And you keep reading about it. For better or worse, this lot is almost alone in producing funny ads. Ad land, if you can be funnier, then please rise to the challenge.

Match made in hell

In the 90-second spot, Satan “matches” with a mysterious user, two-zero-two-zero, who introduces herself as “Twenty Twenty” when the two meet in thunderstorm-barraged Central Park. “So where are you from?” she coos. “Hell,” he replies. “Me, too,” she says.

The campaign debuted in December of 2020 and went viral almost instantaneously. Match and Maximum Effort released a cheeky follow-up, “When Satan met 2020,” shortly thereafter. And to further capitalize on the spot’s success, Maximum Effort repurposed Satan in an April ad for Mint Mobile.

Arlene’s big leap

Meet Arlene Manko, born in 1936 on a leap year — making 2020, technically, her 21st birthday. To celebrate, Ryan Reynolds wanted to do something to celebrate the fact that at 84, she was finally of legal drinking age. Her choice of liquor? Aviation Gin of course.

NewManageMint Powerpoint

Along the way, he checks off all of the virtual presentation cliches with which we’ve all developed a love-hate relationship. “Let’s go to screenshare.” Almost clicking the wrong file, he says, “Okay, that’s not it. Here we go.” Then there’s some cheesy graphics, meaningless pie charts and the endless array of 'thank you' slides. Plus, we get an intimate look at the folders on his desktop. They include: “Name of third daughter,” “Thoughts on time travel” and “Books to say I’ve read.” Simple and funny, it perfecelty reflected the mood of last May in a way that we that would could all relate to.

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ReynoldsRyan ReynoldsMint MobileMonica RuizAviationGin
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