2020 Is Satan’s Soulmate in New Match Ad from Ryan Reynolds’ Maximum Effort

The spot plays out like a classic rom-com, with the destruction of society as the backdrop

Photo of Satan and 2020 in a stadium
Satan resembles Tim Curry's Darkness in the 1985 film Legend. Ryan Reynolds/Maximum Effort

Prince of Darkness, King of Hell. No matter how you frame the job title, it’s got to be a tough online dating scene for Satan. The horrors of the underworld aside, who—or what—on earth could possibly measure up to his wickedness and complement his fiery lifestyle?

In a new ad from Match, created by Ryan Reynolds’ content studio Maximum Effort, Satan’s beloved is none other than the personification of the most hated year in living memory: 2020.

“Match Made in Hell” is a love story straight out of a rom-com: They meet under a bridge, shyly admiring one another, before setting off on an enchanting series of dates. Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” accompanies them as they enjoy a picnic in an abandoned stadium, fitness classes at a closed gym and, of course, a toilet paper raid.

The spot ends with Satan, who looks suspiciously similar to Tim Curry’s Darkness character in the 1985 film Legend, cozying up next to 2020 on an urban, riverside park bench as asteroids hurtle toward the cityscape. “I just don’t want this year to end,” he coos. The spot wraps with a final message from Match: “Make 2021 Your Year.” (2020 is already taken.)

“Match is responsible for bringing millions of people together and even in this dumpster fire of a year, people somehow found love on Match,” Reynolds said in a statement. “We just imagined what a ‘2020 match’ would look like and this video was the natural, slightly warped result. Also, this stuff gives me something to think about during the board meetings.”

Swift’s track, which gives the ad its lighthearted aural backdrop, is a re-recorded version of the 2008 hit. She’s currently at work on re-recording several of her earlier albums but hasn’t released them yet. Swift gave Reynolds explicit permission to use a clip for the Match ad, which serves as a sneak peek of what’s to come.

Reynolds joined the board of the Match Group—the online dating giant that owns Tinder, OKCupid, Hinge and Match.com—in July. This is Maximum Effort’s first ad for the company.

In addition to the spot itself, Maximum Effort created real Match.com dating profiles for the two lovebirds. Satan’s profile lists his age range as 65+ and his hometown as Hell, Michigan—which is a real town. His biggest regret, according to a Match.com prompt, is going down to Georgia.

Satan and 2020's Match.com profiles
Satan and 2020 have telling—and very real—profiles on Match.com.Match.com

The profile for 2020 states that she is just 20 years old, of course, and is politically passionate about being close-minded. The one thing she’d like to change about the world, she writes, is handshakes, and she’s still working on the scariest thing she’s ever done.

“Sometimes you have to make space to laugh,” Match chief marketing officer Ayesha Gilarde said in a statement. “Ryan and the team at Maximum Effort created a story that speaks to this hellish year, while acknowledging the incredible resilience of singles. We can’t wait for the love stories of 2021.”

The new ad is yet another example of Reynolds’ mastery of pop culture, and uncanny ability to tap into the zeitgeist with a sharpshooter’s precision. For his work on Mint Mobile and Aviation Gin, two companies he owns a controlling stake in, Reynolds was named Adweek’s 2020 Brand Visionary during Brandweek in September.

@JessZafarris jessica.zafarris@adweek.com Jess Zafarris is an audience engagement editor at Adweek.
@klundster kathryn.lundstrom@adweek.com Kathryn Lundstrom is Adweek's breaking news reporter based in Austin.