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Well-known for his roles in Hollywood blockbusters, actor Ryan Reynolds has managed to extend his success from the film industry to the business world. His ventures and investments, particularly in the spirits industry, have demonstrated his entrepreneurial acumen.
Reynolds has a history of investments and endorsements. Recognising the influence he carries as a celebrity, he looked beyond the film industry for opportunities. His first significant business venture was his involvement with Aviation American Gin.
Reynolds became a co-owner of Aviation American Gin in 2018, purchasing a significant share of the company. Aviation Gin, owned by Davos Brands, became a popular choice among gin enthusiasts under Reynolds’ ownership. The actor’s involvement brought increased visibility and popularity to the brand.
In 2020, Diageo, the world’s largest spirits manufacturer, acquired Aviation American Gin, along with its majority shareholder Davos Brands, in a deal worth up to $610 million. This acquisition included three other spirits brands – Astral Tequila, Sombra Mezcal, and Tyku Sake. The initial payment stood at $335 million, making it a lucrative sale for Reynolds and his partners.
Following his success with Aviation Gin, Reynolds has now set his sights on the beer industry. Reportedly, he is planning to launch his own range of football-inspired lager, capitalising on the success of Wrexham football team, which he co-owns with actor Rob McElhenney.
He has already begun work on the new brand, securing several names as trademarks in both the UK and the US, including ‘It’s Always Sunny in Wrexham’, a reference to McElhenney’s TV series, ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’. Another proposed name is ‘R&R Lager’, representing the owners’ initials, while ‘Max Effort Lager’ pays homage to Reynolds’ film production company.
Reynolds’ success in his business ventures can be attributed, in part, to his innovative marketing strategies. By leveraging his own marketing agency, Maximum Effort, Reynolds creates timely, culturally relevant ads. This approach, termed “fast-vertising”, has proven to be effective, leading to substantial growth in revenue for his businesses.
Reynolds’ knack for business extends beyond the beverage industry. He co-owns Mint Mobile, a mobile virtual network operator. Despite the telecoms industry being far removed from his Hollywood background, the company has thrived under Reynolds’ ownership, with its revenue growing 500x in just three years.
While the impact of celebrity endorsements on a product’s success can be significant, it often doesn’t bring “much value other than the initial press wave,” as observed by TechCrunch. Many celebrity-backed ventures, such as Alicia Keys’ collaboration with Blackberry or Lady Gaga’s partnership with Polaroid, have failed to revive the brands. However, Reynolds appears to be an exception to this rule, with his investments and endorsements leading to significant returns.
From Aviation Gin to Mint Mobile, Ryan Reynolds has proven his business acumen. His success in the business world demonstrates that celebrity endorsements can yield substantial returns when approached with entrepreneurial savvy and creative marketing strategies. As he ventures into the beer industry, it will be interesting to see how his new brand fares in the market.