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Leap Day babies are a birthday conundrum. When a birthday only comes once every four years, it’s difficult to know when to celebrate. Aviation Gin is playing with that concept in a Leap Day celebration for an 84-year-old’s 21st birthday.

If that sounds confusing, know that Aviation Gin owner Ryan Reynolds and his wry humor is behind this effort. Reynolds doesn’t appear in the ad this time, except for his voice over, which describes the paradox of Arlene Manko’s birthday on 29 February 1936. That means this year is her official 21st birthday, even though her age is decades older. To celebrate, Ryan Reynolds and Aviation wanted to make sure her first legal drink was Aviation Gin. 

The story shows Arlene in her home as Reynolds describes her unusual anniversary. “I was technically five years old when I got married,” says Manko in the spot, holding up a laminated picture of her newspaper marriage announcement. She says she has waited 30,679 days for her first legal drink. “I had seven kids in ten years, you think sometimes I didn’t want to drink?”

She claims she followed the rules because you don’t get in trouble when you do what you’re told, though she claims she’s no angel, as she’s seen going into a convenience store and showing her ID, dressed in various disguises. Then she claims she’s ready to party.

So, Manko waited 84 years and Aviation Gin found her and chronicled her first legal drink – a tall glass of gin with soda water and an orange. After a long sip, she exclaims “Holy Moses!”

At the end, she says she had never heard of Ryan Reynolds, to which Reynolds replies in the voice over, “Ignore her, she’s been drinking.”

While the ad doesn’t have the cheeky immediacy of some of Reynolds’ other Aviation efforts, it’s fun, quirky, and highlights an event previously sung about in Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta, The Pirates of Penzance in the song A Paradox, where a shocked Frederic sings, “I am a little boy of five.”

Maximum Effort, Reynolds’ production agency, produced the ad in tandem with ad agency 160over90.

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