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Watch: Ryan Reynolds just learned that he’s better off not showing his face

Adtech software brand MNTN tested the effectiveness of two different Reynolds ads, and the one with just his voice won.

Watch: Ryan Reynolds just learned that he’s better off not showing his face

Some products just seem easier to advertise than others. Which would you rather create a commercial for, a gin brand or an advertising technology platform? Over the past few years Ryan Reynolds has emerged as a wizard of creative marketing. From the absolute blitz of Deadpool work to Aviation Gin, Mint mobile to Match.com, Reynolds has crafted his own bespoke approach that on one hand, is a wink-wink acknowledgement of all the advertising tropes we’re regularly inundated with. And on the other, it’s still very much an effective ad in and of itself.

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The prototypical Ryan Reynolds ad is an ad that talks about the absurdity of its own existence, while still accomplishing its advertising goal of attention and persuasion. As effortless as it seems, as any CMO can tell you, it’s not an easy rabbit to pull out of one’s hat.

Which brings us to Reynolds’s newest ad—maybe his most difficult assignment yet. Reynolds was tasked with applying his magic to a B2B advertising technology platform designed to make buying and testing TV ads more efficient. Doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, does it?

Adtech software company MNTN (pronounced “Mountain”), which acquired Reynolds’s marketing firm Maximum Effort back in June and made the actor its chief creative officer, decided to create two different ads starring its new executive. One included Reynolds in the spot, the other was just his voice-over. The company targeted audiences working in marketing, set a $25,000 spend limit, and measured the ads’ effectiveness by visits back to MNTN’s website.

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According to the company, the video without Reynolds drove 117% more site visits than the video he starred in. In a third spot, a MNTN customer service rep breaks the news to the Hollywood star.

MNTN’s chief brand officer and president of Maximum Effort, George Dewey, says Reynolds gets a lot of credit for his advertising work, so they thought it’d be fun to create two ads and have a real MNTN employee walk him through the A/B testing results. “It’s an uncomfortable torture test for Ryan while showing how insanely easy-to-use the platform is,” says Dewey.

Something tells me Netflix won’t be running a similar experiment for Red Notice.

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About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity.

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