Over the past year or so, it has been virtually impossible to escape an advertisement for Mint Mobile featuring Ryan Reynolds. This week Mint Mobile, the prepaid mobile network, was acquired by T-Mobile for up to $1.35 billion. Ryan Reynolds is said to own 25% of the brand.
This is a huge day not only for Ryan Reynolds, who also successfully exited his Aviation Gin brand for $619 million in 2021 but also for the future of celebrity brands.
Mint Mobile was successful for many reasons including its direct-to-consumer approach, creating a unique offering in an extremely competitive space, creative marketing tactics, and in our opinion most importantly leveraging the authentic partnership, fame, and creativity of Ryan Reynolds.
What clearly sets Mint apart from other celebrity brands is the brand category. We have seen the rise and success of celebrity-backed CPG brands from Reynolds’ own brand Aviation to the star-studded duo behind Casamigos which sold for up to $1 billion. Over the years, somewhat of a formula has emerged in different product categories, mostly consumer packaged goods, that has worked well for a ton of different celebrities. The fact that Ryan Reynolds was able to ignite the growth of a mobile network provider speaks more so to the importance of the relationship that celebrities have to the brand, product agnostic. This relationship is rooted in the true authentic partnership, vision, and dedication to the customer between the brand and the backing celebrity.
Failed celebrity brands and partnerships aren’t hard to find as they are typically a play to leverage fame and reach without any authentic ties to the product or benefits behind it. On the flip side, successful brands like Jessica Alba’s Honest Company were built on values and a vision that originated and evolved from the celebrity themselves. We believe this authentic partnership is one of the most important factors for a successful brand as it will not only resonate with the celebrities' audience on a more effective level but it organically integrates into the celebrities' life and story which allows it to become an extension of the celebrity themselves.
The critical importance in the success of celebrity brands when it comes to the celebrity themselves is authenticity and a true passion from the brand and customers they are serving. Even Ryan Reynolds tweeted, “I never dreamt I’d own a wireless company and I certainly never dreamt I’d sell it to T-Mobile,” however it was extremely apparent through his involvement with the brand that he was nonetheless dedicated to its mission and growth through and through.
In the future, we believe that celebrity brands will span nearly every product and service category in existence and the most successful brands will be rooted in authenticity.
Firstly, congratulations to Ryan Reynolds on a home run with Mint Mobile. To sum it up, we believe the future of brands is celebrity brands. At Mates, we focus on the ‘dirty work’ of brand building—the marketing, production, and logistics behind the scene so that our celebrity partners can focus on the brand’s vision and growth. Learn more about our process here.