ABC airs a series of Ryan Reynolds-produced surreal throwback ads during the network’s ’80s sitcom special Live in Front of a Studio Audience.
Ryan Reynolds and his film production company Maximum Effort produced a series of strange, surreal throwback commercials for ABC that might be more at home on Adult Swim.
Reynolds posted a video of the ads after they aired on ABC during the network’s special event series Live in Front of a Studio Audience. The specials, which began airing in 2019, feature all-star casts re-creating episodes from iconic ’80s sitcoms. This episode’s cast included Jennifer Aniston, Kathryn Hahn, Will Arnett, Jon Stewart, Kevin Hart, Snoop Dogg and a slew of other high-profile actors and comedians performing live homages to The Facts of Life and Diff’rent Strokes.
The ads, which star Alfonso Ribeiro of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air fame, feature quintessential ’80s brands and imagery in increasingly odd situations. Oscar Mayer weiners, Kraft Singles, Kool-Aid and more make appearances in the various skits, all with Reynolds’ signature eccentric flair. Ultimately, the commercials end up converging into an overall ad for Reynolds’ actual gin brand, Aviation Gin. “Today, more men and women will drink Aviation Gin than ever before,” Reynolds’ voice can be heard over stock footage. “Because Aviation is the American gin that makes you feel warm and free. Unlike when you drink vodka. Vodka leaves you feeling cold and bitter, and metabolically turns you into a Communist, probably.”
Reynolds is widely known and loved for his offbeat humor and unique approach to branding. Most recently, Reynolds released a video once again promoting Aviation Gin, but this time also celebrating the return of the McDonald’s limited-time-only McRib. In the video, Reynolds shares his recipe for the Aviation Gin Riblet — a play on the gin gimlet that puts a savory spin on the classic cocktail. Aviation was founded in 2006 by Christian Krogstad and Ryan Magarian but took off in 2018 when Reynolds acquired a majority stake and began plugging it in his films and on his YouTube channel. Though the company was sold to Diageo in 2020, Reynolds remains involved in the company.
Live in Front of a Studio Audience was developed by Jimmy Kimmel, who also hosts. The first special re-created episodes from All in the Family and The Jeffersons, and the second homaged another All in the Family episode and an episode of Good Times. The likes of Woody Harrelson, Marisa Tomei, Kevin Bacon, Jesse Eisenberg, Jamie Foxx, Viola Davis and many more have all appeared on the program.
All three episodes of Live in Front of a Studio Audience are currently streaming on ABC.com, while it appears only the most recent one is available on Hulu.
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