From a reckless test pilot who acquires otherworldly powers thanks to an alien ring, to playing a wisecracking mercenary in a rated-R Marvel movie, Ryan Reynolds is one of the most instantly recognisable and successful actors in the industry today. Plus, his witty sparring matches with his equally famous wife, Blake Lively, on Twitter have managed to keep his fans glued to his social media profiles.

While you may feel that there isn’t much about this A-list actor you’re missing out on because of his level of social media engagement, it might surprise you to know that he was a finalist in the 2019 B2C Content Marketer of the Year.

How? Well, he used the same determination, enthusiasm, and dedication that skyrocketed the foul-mouthed Deadpool to success in his work with American Aviation Gin. The journey started when he purchased a significant share in the US-based liquor company, becoming its new owner and Creative Director.

But let’s rewind and take a look at how it all started before we get into how they disrupted the industry with a killer PR and digital marketing strategy.

The start of a gin revolution

Taking its name from a classic cocktail, the Aviation, Christian Krogstad and Ryan Magarian established American Aviation Gin in 2006.

Krogstad and Magarian created the brand because they wanted a pre-prohibition gin where the spirit was intended to be at the centre of the drink and not a hidden component that only a gin connoisseur could spot. Their goal was to maximise drinkability and—most importantly—its flavour.

Fast-forward 10 years, the brand was sold to Davos Brands and a couple of years later, in walks Ryan Reynolds in 2018, who acquired a significant stake in American Aviation Gin—a decision he made because the Negroni he had at a bar tasted good because of the gin.

Disrupting the industry with a bucket full of humour

American perceptions around gin are shifting, and consumers are looking for super-premium gins and gin-based cocktails. The interest was so high that even Amazon launched its inaugural spirits brand across Europe, and even brands like Purity Vodka branched out into crafting gins to meet the rising demands.

But when it comes to leading the pack, American Aviation Gin comes out on top, with some even using the word ‘disruptor’ to describe the brand that raked in an annual revenue of USD 4.14B in 2022 and is expected to continue its annual growth trajectory by 12% until 2025.

So, what makes this world-famous gin brand click with its consumers? Well, it’s all about their approach to PR and digital marketing. Let’s dive in.

A boatload of videos

Videos are what make American Aviation Gin unique. While a lot of the scripts are written by Ryan Reynolds and are delivered using his trademark deadpan delivery, other public figures like Sir Richard Branson and Amy Smart have been featured in their videos as well.

Speaking of Sir Richard Branson, one of the earliest videos that American Aviation Gin did was in 2018 after Ryan Reynolds came on board and was promoting a partnership between the gin label and Virgin Atlantic (Reynolds using his famous wit to convince viewers that it was a ‘merger’ where he’d be sitting at the helm).

Video credits: Virgin Atlantic

It doesn’t come to a screeching halt with partnership announcements either. ‘The Process’ was another video that was released where Reynolds talks about the process of making gin. Once again, humour plays a large role in the video as Reynolds explains how their botanicals are ‘cage-free and grain-fed’ and how the citrus fruits are ‘misted using only the tears of the Aviation owner, me, Ryan Reynolds’.

Social media is your BFF

Whether it’s X, TikTok, or Facebook, one thing the good people at American Aviation Gin understand is that social media can be your best friend when it comes to PR and digital marketing. The humorous approach they take has become synonymous with the brand and works well when promoting their brand on not one but two platforms—American Aviation Gin and Ryan Reynolds.

While they have an undeniable social media presence, a large portion of their website traffic comes from YouTube because their videos have been massively successful. Even though the brand’s pages are doing exceptional numbers, it’s nothing compared to the engagement that Reynolds brings to the party with his more than 20 million followers on Facebook, X, and TikTok—a level of reach that brands dream about.

Here are some of Reynolds’ social media posts on X to give you an idea about how he uses short, but impactful messaging to engage fans and consumers with the gin brand.

The power of celebrity

It seems like everybody and their grandmother wants to partner with public figures to promote their brands because the benefits can be mind-blowing. With an A-list celebrity already attached to the gin label, getting more celebrities on board wasn’t a problem—after all, celebrities hang out with other celebrities.

Perhaps the best example of this was when American Aviation Gin teamed up with Nick Cannon to get the word out about a cocktail called ‘The Vasectomy’. The video was released in anticipation of Father’s Day and poked fun at the number of kids Nick Cannon has fathered over the years.

Video credits: Ryan Reynolds

As expected, the campaign was a hit and they capitalised on the popularity by creating a Vasectomy Kit and releasing annual videos featuring other celebrities like Jesse James Decker and even Blake Lively.

Take a page out of American Aviation Gin. Capitalise on your PR and digital marketing.

Ryan Reynolds is a powerhouse with some undeniable influence and an impressive portfolio of businesses under his belt, but PR and digital marketing takes more than just a recognisable face.

Celebrity endorsements can be massive for brands but don’t forget that it doesn’t always end well. Remember the Pepsi ad with Kendall Jenner that backfired when it trivialised the BLM movement? Or the 2014 LeBron James incident when he allied himself with Samsung only to send out a tweet that his Samsung phone malfunctioned, creating a PR nightmare for the South Korean giant?

Having a public figure on board can be great but as marketers, your PR and digital marketing strategy must promote what is true about your brand by thinking outside of the box and just having fun!