Ryan Reynolds

By Timothy Adler on Small Business UK - Advice and Ideas for UK Small Businesses and SMEs The post Ryan Reynolds appeared first on Small Business UK.

Ryan Reynolds

By Timothy Adler on Small Business UK - Advice and Ideas for UK Small Businesses and SMEs

Clever Ryan Reynolds. The self-deprecating star of the smash-hit Deadpool superhero movies (and, let’s face it, some klunkers – Green Lantern, anyone?) bought a stake in artisan gin brand Aviation Gin in 2009, sitting on its board. He also agreed to be the face of the company.

A bit like Paul Newman slapping his face on salad dressing bottles, Ryan Reynolds became the frontman for the brand with the quip, “I’ve tried every gin on the planet and Aviation is, hands down, the best. Also, I don’t recommend trying every gin on the planet. Stick with this one.”

Aviation Gin first began production in Portland, Oregon in 2006 and is described as an “American dry gin”, which means it is not so juniper flavoured as other gins. Its seven botanicals are: juniper, lavender, sweet and bitter orange peel, cardamom, coriander, Indian sarsaparilla, and anise seed.

Drinks giant Diageo bought Aviation Gin for $610m in August 2020 with Ryan Reynolds agreeing to stay on as the face of Aviation for another 10 years as part of the agreement.

Closer to home, Ryan Reynolds also bizarrely became owner of fifth-tier Welsh football club Wrexham AFC earlier this year. It’s tempting to imagine Reynolds waking up deeply hungover after a heavy night on the Aviation Gin with co-owner fellow actor Rob McElhenney, checking his phone and saying, “Wait … I’ve done what?!”

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Paul Newman

By Timothy Adler on Small Business UK - Advice and Ideas for UK Small Businesses and SMEs The post Paul Newman appeared first on Small Business UK.

Paul Newman

By Timothy Adler on Small Business UK - Advice and Ideas for UK Small Businesses and SMEs

Paul Newman was the first Hollywood star to create a business that has gone on to outlive him. Indeed, his Newman’s Own range of salad dressings and other foods, which launched in 1982, was years ahead of the game in that all profits would be donated to charity.

A star with a strong social conscience, Paul Newman – who at one point wanted to turn his back on stardom to become a marine biologist – became an entrepreneur almost by accident.

Back in 1980, one week before Christmas, Paul Newman and his pal Hemingway biographer A.E. Hotchner were messing about in Newman’s barn in Westport, Connecticut concocting a huge batch of salad dressing in an old horse barn. The men were using an old bathtub to make their enormous vat of salad dressing, even using a canoe paddle to stir it with, to bottle it up as Christmas presents.

Thankfully nobody died from food poisoning and the result was so delicious Newman decided to organise a blind tasting through a caterer he knew, the soon-to-be-famous-herself Martha Stewart. The judges overwhelmingly voted Newman’s concoction the favourite.

Newman and Hotchner decided to go into business the very next day, financing the venture with $20,000 each of their own seed money but the star was warned, “…just because they liked you as Butch Cassidy doesn’t mean they’ll all like your salad dressing”.

Key to the marketing of Newman’s Own was the picture of Newman himself dressed in a different costume for each of the different product lines. Newman only reluctantly agreed to be the face of the product, telling Hotchner: “My face on a bottle of salad dressing? Not a chance in hell.”

Famously, each bottle proclaims “100% Profits to Charity” and again Newman only reluctantly agreed to this, what he dismissed “noisy philanthropy”. To date, Newman’s Own has donated over $566m to charity.

What a mensch.

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