Friday, August 12, 2022

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    Ryan Reynolds’ Aviation American Gin inspires comedian Yakov Smirnoff to change his name

    In a parody ad created for National Vodka Day, Aviation American Gin teams with Ukrainian-American actor, comedian and writer Yakov Smirnoff, who admits that he’s more of a gin man.

    Ryan Reynolds is up to his regular antics. The actor’s gin label Aviation American Gin today unveiled a rollicking new spot starring comedian Yakov Smirnoff. 

    Developed by Reynolds’ creative production company Maximum Effort, which in June was acquired by connected television player MNTN, the ad was created in celebration — or mockery — of National Vodka Day.

    In the spot, Reynolds narrates a brief recap of the comedian’s debut on the American comedy scene in 1977. Viewers glimpse a clip from a standup set in which Smirnoff quips: “In Russia, there is three drinks: it’s vodka, two glasses of vodka and a bottle.” But lo and beyond, the statement, which implied Smirnoff was a vodka fan, was a farce, Reynolds tells viewers. The film cuts to a present-day Smirnoff, who says, “Vodka is like bread in Russia — except it’s cheaper and we never run out of it.” And while people assume he must love vodka, Smirnoff says he's “actually a gin man.” He sips an Aviation martini. And to prove his love and allegiance to the spirit, the comedian changes his legal name from Yakov Smirnoff to Yakov Aviation American Gin. 

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    The new spot debuts today on YouTube and on Instagram. 

    Reynolds is milking National Vodka Day for all it’s worth. “Yikes,” he said in a statement shared with The Drum. “Like everyone, I almost forgot it was #NationalVodkaDay. Well, almost everyone.”

    Last year, Aviation American Gin was acquired for a reported $610m by beverage giant Diageo — whose portfolio of over 200 brands includes Guinness, Bulleit, Cîroc, Don Julio, Tanqueray and yes, even Smirnoff. From 2020 to 2021, the Diageo saw net sales rise 8.3%. Brand marketing initiative’s like Reynolds’ Aviation American Gin stunts could catalyze further growth. 

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