Mint’s Ryan Reynolds Fights Inflation. Literally.

Mint Mobile

Deflating The Price


At System1 we talk a lot about classic ads and the history of the medium. Why? Partly because you can always learn from the greats. But also because if an ad format worked once, chances are somebody out there can make it work again.

For instance, back in the 70s, testimonials from the owners of a brand were a great way to put a message across and make a human connection too. Think Victor Kiam and Remington shavers – “I liked it so much, I bought the company”. Fast forward to the start of the 21st Century, though, and ads like that couldn’t have been cringier. Too direct, too rational, too damn corny.

Then came Dollar Shave Club, who reinvented the straight to camera testimonial with high energy and plenty of swearing. And now we’re in the age of Ryan Reynolds, who’s reinvented it yet again and made the format hotter than ever. His ads for Aviation Gin in 2020 and Mint Mobile now make marketing look not just easy but a hell of a lot of fun.

Now, most brands don’t have a box office star in the boardroom with charisma to burn. But they can manage the “fun” part and entertain for commercial gain. And they can look past Ryan Reynolds’ casually brilliant performance to look at his skill at keeping Mint’s brand and messaging consistent and mix brand building with activation.

Mint’s latest ad is another 4-Star performer, with Exceptional short-term Spike and a placing in the mobile ads US Top 20. It’s a bit of slapstick comedy with Reynolds laughing as he has to battle a giant red inflatable stick-man to get his message over.

The ad has Mint and Reynolds’ trademark humor – he’s straight-talking to the audience, and cracking up as he boxes the inflatable. Everything’s set up to look as chaotic as possible – this is not a slick, high-budget ad, and like Mint’s other commercials the message is this brand is not wasting money on ads, they’re passing savings on to you. At the end he walks toward the camera, muttering about how he’s never going to release this ad – another touch designed to stand out and make that very human connection.

But Reynolds isn’t just goofing around. He puts the message right upfront – while everything else is going up, Mint’s plan is halving in price. It’s a perfect balance of activation and brand-building. Even the silly inflatable plays a part – Mint’s big theme right now is how they’re deflating while everything else is inflating and this ad is another very consistent bit of messaging.

You can talk about how you’re beating inflation… or you can beat an inflatable. Ryan Reynolds knows which one gets the audience smiling, and he’s breathed new life into one of the oldest formats in the advertising book.

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