Ryan Reynolds’s signature sarcasm is adopted by 13-year-old actor Walker Scobell in a playful new joint ad for Kraft Mac & Cheese and Netflix. Together, Reynolds and Scobell promote the indulgent boxed dinner and their new sci-fi Netflix film The Adam Project.
Kraft Mac & Cheese wants in on the action. Specifically, the high-speed, adrenaline-pumping action of forthcoming Netflix release The Adam Project, a sci-fi adventure flick starring Ryan Reynolds, Jennifer Garner, Mark Ruffalo and Zoe Saldana.
Brought to life by Stranger Things director and executive producer Shawn Levy, The Adam Project follows the story of Adam (played by Reynolds), who travels back in time and links up with his childhood self (played by Walker Scobell) to save the world. The movie is set for release on March 11.
To celebrate the new release and promote its kid-approved nosh, Kraft Mac & Cheese has partnered up with Netflix and The Adam Project actors Reynolds and Scobell. In a 30-second spot 13-year-old Scobell leans into his role as a junior version of Reynolds, to the dismay of the production team. It was created in partnership with Reynolds’s production companies Maximum Effort (which was last summer acquired by connected television adtech firm MNTN) and The Light.
Scobell delivers sharp one-liners in Reynolds’s signature deadpan style – instead of sticking to his script. “Kraft Mac & Cheese: if your parents don’t buy it, stop loving them,” he chimes. In another take: “Kraft Mac & Cheese: if cheese and rainbows had a baby.” Reynolds, pictured in the spot working behind-the-scenes with production, takes the blame, explaining that since Scobell plays a younger version of him in The Adam Project, he may be stuck in a habit of method acting.
Reynolds is something of an adland golden child. In recent years, he’s spent more time investing in branded commercial projects, working with his creative team at Maximum Effort to concept, produce and star in ads for a number of brands including his own gin label Aviation American Gin, Mint Mobile (in which he holds a majority stake) and Match.com.
The new collaborative campaign represents a new, more bold direction for Kraft, which has in the past stuck to less raucous methods. The brand said in a statement that it is aiming to “push boundaries in the marketing space.” Matt Carpenter, a marketing director at KraftHeinz, tells The Drum: “At Kraft Mac & Cheese, we strive to create content that not only acknowledges culture, but also contributes to it in a way that consumers love. Netflix and the Maximum Effort teams have a long-standing history of developing content that resonates across multiple platforms and with diverse audiences in meaningful ways – we’re thrilled to be a part of that.”
Taking on this new approach, the brand says, will help it connect with a wider audience, as it aims to prove that “Kraft Mac & Cheese can be enjoyed as much by a seven-year-old as a 70-year-old.”
The joint campaign makes sense for Netflix too, whose head of marketing partnerships Magno Herran explains that, when it comes to partnerships, the company is “always striving to find the entertaining overlap between brands and our Netflix titles.” The onscreen relationship between Reynolds and Scobell – paired with a family favorite like Kraft Mac & Cheese – just fit. “We loved that the concept leaned into Ryan’s off-camera pursuits as a marketer and had some fun with this idea of Walker ‘going method’ that turned out great for both Kraft Mac & Cheese and the film.”
The new campaign, which also includes a 60-second version, will run across TV, online video and both Kraft’s and Reynold’s social channels.