Celebrities who monetise their following

Companies used to spend millions of dollars on TV ads to promote their products. Then they spent millions of dollars on partnerships with celebrities.

Now, celebrities are realising their influence and taking a hands-on approach to promoting their brands and monetising their following.

Here are examples of two celebrities who monetise their following:

Ryan Reynolds

Follower count: 53.8 million followers on Instagram and Twitter 

His personal brand: anti-hero & goofy guy with punchy one-liners on Twitter 

Brands promoted:

  • Aviation Gin 
    • Reynolds tasted the best negroni he has ever had and decided to buy a stake in Aviation Gin.
    • He is involved in sales, marketing and distribution.
    • He is primarily focused on promoting the brand on his social media.
    • Reynolds showed a knack for genius advertising and a great sense of timing with the Peloton Ad Parody.
    • The brand made international waves when it partnered with Virgin Atlantic.
    • In 2020, Aviation Gin Sold for $610 Million to British spirits giant, Diageo.
  • Mint Mobile
    • Reynolds is the majority owner of this low-cost mobile carrier. 
    • Reynolds’ ad agency creates low-cost humorous ads for Mint Mobile.

Dwayne ”The Rock” Johnson

Follower count – 233 million on Instagram and Twitter (one of the most famous personalities online)

His personal brand: “the hardest work in the room” & known for his physicality

Brands promoted:

  • Teremana Tequila Brand
    • Johnson has been waiting for the right opportunity to launch a tequila brand for ten years.
    • In 2020, Teremana sold more than 300,000 9-litre cases in its first year.
  • VOSS water 
    • Johnson acquires stake in VOSS and serves as a strategic advisor.
    • VOSS water aims to raise awareness by harnessing Johnsons’ popularity on Instagram
  • Project Rock
    • Johnson collaborated with Under Armour to produce Project Rock.
    • This apparel line is noted for its rugged aesthetics and durability under all circumstances.

Lessons: 

  1. Leverage existing reach

Everyone can do this not just movie stars, look at hyper-local contacts, past colleagues or student networks.

2. Do things you’re passionate about.

  • Johnson drinks 4 gallons of water a day so promoting VOSS water felt natural.
  • Johnson waited ten years to launch Teremana. 
  • He said: “I’m a big proponent of listening to your gut and your instinct and taking my time to do it right and surround myself with the best partner.

3. Be true to yourself and play to your strengths.

  • Ryan Reynolds has a playful personality, and he puts out funny and creative ads.
  • Johnson is known for his extraordinary discipline.
  • Johnson is disciplined in churning out Instagram content and promoting his films. 

4. Be creative and connect with people on a personal level. 

  • Don’t be afraid to show your mistakes and triumphs.
  • The imperfect manner and low-cost production is inherent to Maximum Effort, Ryan’s ad agency.
  • Johnson admits launching Teremana is a ‘baptism of fire’ and he’s learning on the go.

5. Have a legacy play

  • Have a plan that lives beyond your personal brand and is not dependent on you to forever work in day-to-day operations.
  • Johnson describes Teramana “Ideally, I’d like to get it to the point where the brand can live on its own without me. I come in and give something the jet fuel then I can hopefully eventually back off.” 

Michael Lane and Ahmad discuss this topic and the great lessons to learn on Level Up TV. To watch, click here.