OPINION: I Am 100% Correct On Why Ryan Reynolds’ Ads Are Funny

Yes, he’s an A-list, award-winning comedic actor. That helps. Also, he’s from Canada. That really helps. Talent aside,  there’s a reason why Ryan Reynolds continues to create some of today’s most watchable ads: they are legitimately funny.

And why are they legitimately funny? He’s in charge.

Sometimes he’s the client. Sometimes he’s the production company. Sometimes he’s the media company. But he’s always the one taking the risk.

Real quick for those reading this from under a rock: https://www.youtube.com/c/VancityReynolds/videos

As embarrassing as those  2020 “Unprecedented Times” ads are to look back on, they are a good case study on how brands react to culture.

It’s no secret that our current climate can be quite divisive. So, to avoid any possibility of being insensitive, the type of comedy we often put in ads is lukewarm. The fear of coming off as insensitive leads many spots to go something like this:

Character A does something a little strange. Characters B and C look at each other and say “NOT AGAIN!” 

Not again. Not again. That lazy punchline is HR humor at its finest. So why are we constantly subjected to this kind of “funny”? Is it because ad writers aren’t funny? Maybe. But after eight years in the agency world, I’ve witnessed way too many times that brand stakeholders often find legitimate humor to be “too risky.”

People see through a brand’s bullshit. When a global company tries to level with an audience or take a stand on an issue, it tends to be cringe-worthy. Unless the brand’s logo is ripped out of that ad, it’s hard to trust the good intentions of that message.

While cracking a joke could possibly offend some folks, trying to be perceived as “one of the people” runs a far greater risk of being insensitive.

In his role as the client, producer, the media company, or the talent, Reynolds is often just as big as the brand he’s representing. When he’s involved with an ad, there’s nobody higher up saying “let’s play it safe” or “that’s too funny” or “ahhhh we like it but it’s just not worth it.”

He’s comfortable with the risk-reward ratio of putting out a truly humorous ad. The kind that most clients aren’t willing to make. The kind that ruffle some feathers but are rewarded with social media shares and featured articles (like this one).

Since he has tapped into this much needed space, he’s been able to quickly react to pop culture (like with this Peloton Ad) and promote his own movies (like with this Kraft ad). He’s bringing a lot of the joy back to an industry where you’d least expect him.

Let’s take a page out of “Ryan Reynolds On Advertising.” Let’s get back to making ads that are entertaining. Let’s stop using “NOT AGAIN” as a punchline.

P.S. – My mom has told me on multiple occasions that Ryan Reynolds is both handsome and charming. So, if i’m wrong about this whole thing, that could be why people like his ads.

*Why are Canadians so funny?