Virgin Atlantic has teamed up with Aviation American Gin as the exclusive UK airline partner. The two brands, as well as their celebrity owners, will promote their new relationship through cocktail-themed activations and branded content.
Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson and actor/producer Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool) announced their partnership through a comedic YouTube video in which Reynolds assumes their companies will merge. As Reynolds tries desperately to sound like a businessman—throwing out random words like “KPI,” “shareholder value” and “ROI”—Branson loses his patience and walks off set.
“We look forward to serving Virgin Atlantic guests for years to come and, on a personal note, Sir Richard has promised to teach me the difference between revenue and profit, so I am beyond excited,” Reynolds says in the press release.
Branson and Reynolds will return in a series of co-branded digital content this Fall. In the meantime, Virgin Atlantic is treating select September 30 flights with a mixology experience. The cocktail-fueled activation will be hosted by bartenders from famous locations like The Dead Rabbit in New York and Smugglers Cove in San Francisco.
The two brands will participate in this year’s London Cocktail Week from October 3-7, hosting activations and serving exclusive Aviation Gin cocktails at the Old Truman Brewery.
Virgin often uses experiential marketing to form positive memories of the brand. Virgin Holidays installed a giant ball pit in London and offers virtual reality in its retail locations.
Reynolds bought a stake in craft distiller Aviation Gin earlier this year and ever since, has promoted it with his trademark sense of humor. To announce his involvement with the brand, Reynolds produced a video in which he interviews—and insults—himself.
The Canadian actor joins a long list of celebrities who have aligned themselves with alcohol brands over the past few years. In 2016, Matthew McConaughey signed on as creative director for Wild Turkey bourbon and last year, Channing Tatum teamed up with Grand Teton Distillery to develop his own line of vodka.