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How To Advertise Like Ryan Reynolds

T-Mobile’s acquisition of Mint Mobile put the spotlight on Ryan Reynolds, who reportedly makes 300M out of the deal.

If you don’t know much about his advertising side hustles, you might think he’s just your average celebrity with a “chief creative officer” title for publicity purposes.

His out-of-the-box marketing tactics (like this Deadpool Tinder profile) made the little-known superhero Deadpool trump Captain America in box office revenue.

Over the years, Ryan Reynolds and his agency, Maximum Effort, delivered master-quality advertisements for brands like Aviation Gin, Mint Mobile, and Match.

These advertisements are lean in production budget but high-value in story, creativity, and cultural relevance.

Millions on millions of views cements the idea that people don’t hate ads - they hate sh*tty ads.

There’s a lot to learn here…


Ryan Reynolds doesn’t follow the traditional creative workflow.

Instead, he coined the term “fast-vertising”, which is what he continuously uses to set his marketing apart.

This means great creative comes from listening first by closely monitoring cultural moments, what’s trending, and what’s on everyone’s mind.

Then taking advantage of the zeitgeist fast by spinning up creative that injects itself into the culture and conversation while it’s still relevant.

Here’s a great example: The bottle cap challenge with the Aviation Gin bottle.

More recently, he created a Mint mobile ad by showing how he created the ad using ChatGPT.

This a seemingly obvious approach we haven’t seen many brands do.

Example: Link to Watch

Tell A Big Story - Make It Little

Ads are meant to be watched.

And Ryan Reynolds mastered making ads so intriguing they’re watched, shared, and spread.

Other than incorporating relevant cultural moments, he makes connections by using small, relatable moments to capture the audience's attention to tell a big story.

That’s another reason why they turn around new ads so fast.

One example is the 2019 Aviation Gin ad, created as a response to the infamous Peloton wife controversy, which was released only 72 HOURS after the original commercial went viral.

Little moment: having a drink with your friends after a bad day

Big story:

Another example is the $500 Mint Mobile ad that was put together within a day.

Small moment: An ad using cheap stock video

Big story: Mint Mobile is a challenger brand to Big Competitors that save ad bucks for customers

In Ryan Reynold’s words: “use character in place of spectacle.”

Use But & Therefore vs. And Then

The But & Therefore rule was popularized by the creators of South Park.

They noticed that an engaging story uses “But & Therefore” and boring ones build off “And Then.”

And Then, stories have no movement and are unchanging and unsurprising.

But & Therefore, stories create momentum where the audience feels like they are going places along with the story.

The “Contextual Advertising” ad was a perfect example of this: Link to watch here

The ad started as an ad for a Netflix movie.

But it turns out to be also an ad for a Samsung TV. Therefore they talk about the top features of the TV.

But it is also an ad for Aviation Gin; therefore, the audience sees clips of that ad.

The zigging and zagging get the audience hooked, engaged, educated, and entertained - which is what a great ad does.

Hope this helps.

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