Truce with Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman, Did it Work?


If you have Deadpool and Wolverine in a viral ad, you’re obviously gonna buy what they’re selling, right? Well, just because you have a celebrity endorsing a product doesn’t mean it’ll always work. In this video, I review “Truce” by Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman, stars of the Marvel X-Men movie franchises, and see if this viral video was actually good at selling you. Celebrity and influencer marketing have been popular more than ever with social media. I also reveal the AIDA formula, what worked in Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman’s “Truce” video, where they missed the mark, and more. Original Video:

What We Covered


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Christian: 00:00
Hey, it’s Christian Martin. In today’s video, we’re going to break down the new viral ad by Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman and see why did this work so well. Here we go.

Christian: 00:11
Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman are both gigantic stars. Ryan Reynolds is in Deadpool, and Hugh Jackman is none other than wolverine. Last week on Twitter, they called a truce to their long running social media feud and released a video on youtube that has gone on to have millions of views. And it’s no wonder why, but today we’re going to check out that video and figure out why it worked. Let’s jump in now.

Truce Video: 00:33
“Hey Everyone, Ryan and I recently called it a truce in our social media war, and we promise to my ads for each other…”

Christian: 00:39
So the first thing that stands out to me is, number one, is the word truce. If you have siblings, you can probably relate to this calling a truce when your little to cease the war. Now the reason this grabs people so much is because humans respond very strongly to conflict and curiosity. And this has both.

Christian: 00:57
So, number one, we’re thinking what is the truce about and why did they have a war? And number two, it’s conflict. Okay. So we see two big stars two people that we know in conflict with one another. And we want to know why, what else, I want to figure out, why are they going to make ads for each other?

Truce Video: 01:12
“…Yeah, we sure did. Um, I’ve been working 24-7 on an ad for Hugh’s incredible coffee company, Laughing Man. And he’s been working hard. 24-7 I imagine on a Aviation Gin ad, so I’m going to go first. Let’s, yeah, let’s roll it.”

Christian: 01:24
So this is cool because we’ve seen them come into a truce and we know that they were in conflict with one another before. And we also know that Ryan Reynolds generally is very sarcastic and sometimes we think that the punchline is going to come. So in this ad, I’m watching it, I think he’s about to pull some punches that we just haven’t seen yet. So I still don’t know if he’s going to turn on Hugh Jackman and, and this truce or if he’s genuinely wants to make an ad for him. You never know what’s going to come out of Ryan Reynolds.

Truce Video: 01:50
“Can a cup of coffee be superhero? Cause Laughing Man Beans are born with a special power.

Truce Video: 01:56
Sure. It’s the best tasting coffee in the market. Yeah. It Awakens your senses with unbelievable flavor, but it also lifts up communities around the world in the form of housing and scholarships and “hugh” could be behind such a “hugh-roic” company? “Hugh” guessed it, my friend Hugh Jackman, the loving and caring man who created Laughing Man… Make every cup count.

Truce Video: 02:27
Wow. Uh Wow man. That was really, that’s really professional and it’s like Cost a million dollars.

Truce Video: 02:36
Really? Yeah.

Truce Video: 02:38
Wow. Um, I, I’m not quite ready to show mine yet, but let’s just cut for a sec. Oh No, it’s not, we’re almost finished. Just some color correcting. Just roll it. Come on to almost say go, go, go. Roll it. Rolling. Ryan Reynolds is a complete and total #$%!& okay.

Truce Video: 03:00
Gins is pretty great though. I’ll have to try it someday.

Truce Video: 03:22
Sorry, man, I didn’t think that truce was actually real.

Christian: 03:28
And there it is. See, I knew the punchline was coming. I just didn’t know who was going to do it. Usually somebody breaks the truce. And going back to that sibling story, if you’ve had siblings and you know you can call a truce, but you can never really trust that the other person is going to live by it. So in this case, Ryan Reynolds genuinely made a nice commercial for Hugh Jackman, at least during this video. And Hugh Jackman, just trashed, Ryan Reynolds. And so now we get to see his honest reaction. So this grabs people because again, more conflict and there’s tension and we want to see what happens. One of the greatest things that you can do in advertising is to subvert expectations. And that’s exactly what has happened here. So we see this nice commercial, the first commercial it goes exactly to the plan, and then we think that Hugh Jackman is going to have an equal commercial for Ryan Reynolds and he just trashes him.

Christian: 04:14
And that subverts our expectations. We thought they had a truce. It turns out they didn’t and– Like I said Hugh Jackman didn’t think the truce was real and this is just like me with my siblings. You could never trust of the truce was real. You never know when that person is going to turn. So let’s break down four more reasons why this ad works so well and why it caught the attention of millions of people. The obvious thing is that this stars two huge celebrities and people like to watch the celebrities we already know, like, and trust them. When you combine that with those two elements of conflicts and curiosity, of course we’re going to watch the ad. The second thing is that it’s tongue in cheek. They didn’t take themselves too seriously. It’s funny to watch and it gives us a little laugh at the end of it.

Christian: 04:51
Now this type of video can be called, postmodern advertising and what this is is it’s an ad that functions as entertainment at the same time. So we are so saturated with ads that it no longer works to just advertise a product. Now we have to actually put entertainment first. So if somebody has not delighted by an ad, it’s not going to work very well. So we want to do two things. We want to entertain and educate on the product. Now, one without the other. If all you do is educate on the product, it’s going to go unnoticed. People see too many advertising. Even if all you do is entertain, well that’s not going to bring in any sales for the company, which is fine if you’re in the entertainment business. But if you’re trying to grow your company with ads, try to combine those two elements together, entertainment and education on the product, and you’re going to have a lot better time selling products.

Christian: 05:38
So that’s postmodern advertising, when we combine the two. In order to disguise the advertisement, what they did was they used their truce as the context for this video. And so when you think we’re seeing a truce being resolved, but we’re also seeing an ad at the same time. So it’s not kind of thing where you included an ad, but you’re almost unaware that you’re watching advertisement. That’s it. That’s kind of ad. The third thing that stood out is something that is very classic in direct response advertising and copywriting. That is the AIDA formula. That’s attention, interest, desire and action. The very first thing this ad does is get our attention. They see it, they’re coming together to resolve their truce. Next they build a little interest. They say, we made ads for each other and you start to wonder what these ads are going to look like and who it’s going to break that truce first.

Christian: 06:21
And then we see the first ad. We have a desire to see the second ad because we know something’s coming. We know that punchline is coming and we want to see how it plays out. And then at the end we see action where the two products are displayed. We can actually go take action and become consumers of those products. So that’s the AIDA formula that works for everything, from writing emails to sales pages, to youtube videos, to sales videos, to webinars, to anything. You can use that formula to write any kind of marketing materials. See even big stars are gonna use this AIDA formula. Now if we jump into the actual individual ads within this video, we can see that the formula is there, too. So Ryan Reynolds starts out with, “can a cup of coffee be a superhero?” So that provokes our interest and curiosity.

Christian: 07:02
We want to know, well, I want to know, can it? Or we want to know what in the hell is he talking about? So the statement is what’s called a pattern interrupt. It’s absurd enough that it makes us stop in our tracks and wonder what’s going to happen next, because it’s just not something that we’re used to seeing. Next he builds the interest in this ad. He says, “…Because Laughing Man Coffee is born with special powers, it’s the best tasting coffee in the market. So again, that grabs our interest and we wonder what exactly is in this coffee. We’re starting to become engaged in that ad and we want to find out what happened. Next, he builds desire for this coffee. He says, by buying Laughing Man Coffee, you help lift up communities around the world and the proceeds from the sales give housing and scholarships to places that need it.

Christian: 07:43
So let’s go building desire for that product. Finally, in this ad we have the call to action. This is a classic mechanism in marketing and any kind of marketing message. You’re going to use a call to action. Now in this particular ad, he’s uses a very soft call to action and he says, “Make every cup count,” and that’s what’s telling the consumer to go ahead and buy this cup of coffee because your contributing to saving these communities and you’re going to get a great cup of coffee with superpowers. Typically you’re going to see call to actions if you were scrolling through Facebook and you see an ad there, it’s going to say, click here to find out more. Or if you’re watching a webinar or sales videos say, click below to buy now or click here to get 25% off your next order. That’s your more classic call to action in the marketing world.

Christian: 08:25
So some of these big brands are going to use software called actions like Nike’s ‘Just Do It’, Progressive Auto Insurance, ‘Name Your Own Price,’ Slim Jims, “Snap into a Slim Jim,” Since they’re a little less specific. But if you’re writing sales copy online, you’re generally going to be very direct with your call to action. So you get the idea. Every good ad ends with the action that you need to take next. Now the last thing that stood out to me about this ad was the story. There were two stories being told here at once. Stories or narratives with character in conflict help provide context that trigger specific emotions that connect a brand, product or service with their potential customers. Humans are bred to learn through story and to remember through stories. So you can hear an interesting fact and you might forget that immediately after you heard it, but if you hear a story about that fact, chances are you can go to lunch with your friend later and actually relay that fact to them.

Christian: 09:15
So if your trying to communicate your message, try using a story and that’s going to make that message a lot stickier. So the two stories in this video, we have the story about Hugh Jackman and Ryan Reynolds coming together on their truce. And that is the overarching story of this commercial. But we also have the story about Laughing Man Coffee and how they help communities. So that’s two stories wrapped into one in this video. Now, if we’re really going to break this down as an advertisement and gauge success on did this produce results, there are some things that might not work so well with this ad. So the number one thing is, am I going to remember this ad after I watch it, but do I remember the name of the gin brand or the coffee brand? So I actually do remember Laughing Man Coffee, I believe, and I completely forget the Gin.

Christian: 09:57
I think it’s Aviation Gin. Although they did produce emotion and built a relationship with their audience. I don’t know if they built a relationship with the actual products. So the easy thing to remember from this video is how funny it was and less about the products, which is fine if it’s for entertainment purposes only. So that’s one of the things you’ve got to watch out for with a strong personality, advertising your brand. That happens with athletes sometimes. People love these sponsored athletes so much that they might completely forget about the brand they’re endorsing and not even remember what it is. So we can see this happening in the recent Superbowl commercials. If you saw the Superbowl commercials, there is the Pepsi Super Bowl Ad. We have Steve Carrell a Lil’ John and Cardi B and it’s definitely entertaining. But if you’ve already chosen sides on Pepsi and coke, you’re probably not going to switch sides just because of this ad.

Christian: 10:47
You might have fun watching those celebrities, but it’s not really tied to the actual product there. So at the end of the day you have to build a relationship around the product. No matter how you do it, you might use a celebrity to get there, but not all celebrity endorsements are going to help you share your product. So what else can we learn from this? First, I think they’re doing it right by collaborating. In the Internet marketing world we call this a joint venture, but it’s basically when you have a product and somebody else owns an audience. So let’s say Ryan Reynolds has this gin product and he knows that Hugh Jackman’s followers might be interested in purchasing that gin. So he goes to Hugh and he says, hey Hugh, you want to strike up a joint venture and I’ll give you a cut of the sales from promoting my product to your audience.

Christian: 11:28
So what they did is they leverage each other’s audiences and then you have Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman’s audience watching this video and they’re cross promoting each other’s products. So this happens all the time in the food space, which is where they both are. You take a look at healthy food brands, like Real Good Foods. They’ve collaborated with RSP nutrition, Choc Zero, Keto Bark, and many others. So this is a popular strategy. You can increase awareness of your product by creating a giveaway where you win free product if you follow both brands, leave a comment on the post, things like that. So who doesn’t like free food? And you bring that to somebody else’s audience, you’re going to pull in all of these new customers. The second thing we learned from this is to always put context and story behind your product or service.

Christian: 12:08
As Simon Sinek says, “People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.”

Christian: 12:12
Now, I don’t agree with him entirely. You have to have an amazing product. So his binary message is very misguided. But people do buy why you do things in a saturated market. So if you’re in a market like coffee, one of the most saturated markets in the entire world, you have to have a good story because people are going to buy based on values. That means they must know, like and trust the brand image. So if they like Hugh Jackman in the values that he stands for, which in this case that’s going to do a better job of selling his coffee then just talking about how good the coffee is. So you see this a lot in super saturated markets like Cola. Coca Cola’s ads often have nothing to do with the product whatsoever. One of their most famous ads they’ve ever produced was a bunch of people standing in a circle holding hands, singing Kumbaya or something.

Christian: 12:56
So when you get to what’s called level five market saturation, which is where your product is basically a commodity, you have to inject values into your brand messaging. And lastly, we learned the AIDA formula to create strong ad copy for marketing campaigns. So hope you liked this video and we planned to do more breakdowns of trending viral videos, advertisements, celebrity actions in the news, and really break down what persuasion techniques are at play. Why do people like things? Why do messages grab on and spread while other messages are lost forever? If you saw the Truce Video, let me know what you thought. Did you like this video? Did you think it was a commercial or purely entertainment? What do you think worked? What didn’t? Go ahead and put it in the comments below and let us know what you want to cover next and we will see you on the next episode.

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