As I mentioned in today’s site open, Live in Front of a Studio Audience last night was, top to bottom, an immersive nostalgic experience, not just with the re-enactments of The Facts of Life and Diff’rent Strokes, but also in between programming, during the commercial breaks. 


Yes. I said what I said. THE COMMERCIAL breaks. Usually, it’s only during the Super Bowl that people don’t get up to pee or get more chips during the commercial breaks. With Live in Front of a Studio Audience, ABC made it so that you wanted to keep watching the commercials, because they extended the throwback vibe to the first ads that came after scenes, airing commercials that looked like they were from the 70s and 80s but are actually NEW product placements, but produced the old(ish) fashioned way. It’s genius marketing and execution….and you know who was responsible for it? 

Maximum Effort. That’s Ryan Reynolds’s company. 

Exactly a year ago today, I posted about Ryan and Maximum Effort after they produced an ad for Match with an exclusive special feature – Taylor Swift’s new version of "Love Story", click here for a refresher. It was smart and funny and effective. As I wrote at the time, “Ryan Reynolds’s company, Maximum Effort, just threw down a ballsy challenge to other marketing and production firms in the same space, competing for the same clientele. If you’re a company with a product or service to sell, aren’t you looking much closer now at Maximum Effort?”


And now a year later? Maximum Effort is getting network television money and working with top tier brands. These ads, if you weren’t watching last night, were its own entertainment. That’s the thing about Ryan and his team – he’s not just a big name celebrity coasting off his name. He’s backing his sh-t up with creativity, really impressive creativity, and it’s his name, probably, that’s convincing pretty conservative brands to go in this kind of irreverent direction. 

You want an example? The Kraft Singles ad was a play on the “this is your brain on drugs” PSAs from the 80s. And one of the best ones, although they were all strong, all great, all imaginative and fresh and funny, to the point where Jacek made me pause on the DVR so that he wouldn’t miss any of them when he had to leave for a minute. 

So to go back to Ryan Reynolds and how he’s diversified his career over the years – he’s a successful actor, no doubt, but he’s also heading up a spectacularly innovative company and leveraging his celebrity in exactly the right way. Maximum Effort’s content fits in with his personal brand, while allowing others to flex in their own creative space. The Show Your Work of Ryan Reynolds is setting a high standard. 


Here are all of Maximum Effort’s commercials from last night.

And this is the one he voiced, for Aviation Gin, obviously. “Vodka leaves you feeling cold, and bitter. And metabolically turns you into a Communist, probably.” LOLOLOL. 

Attached – Ryan out in New York yesterday.