As a challenger brand in the wireless telecommunications space, Mint Mobile faces stiff competition from giants like Verizon, T-Mobile and low-cost carriers like Cricket, Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile. But being smaller means it can also use its nimbleness and speed to quickly lean into cultural moments and produce ads and marketing messages that often go viral—in large part because brand owner Ryan Reynolds appears in many of the ads, and the actor uses his own social platforms to promote them, but also because they resonate.
Aron North, chief marketing officer at Mint Mobile, says the key to success in creating viral moments and hopping on cultural conversations is embracing fear. On the latest episode of the “Marketer’s Brief” podcast (listen above), North says he’s a “huge preacher” of failing because it means his team is pushing boundaries needed to break through the mold.
North has first-hand experience in facing fear in his professional life. Before coming to Mint Mobile, North was the director of advertising and branded content at Taco Bell and a VP at ad agency Y&R. Moving from established marketing and advertising giants to a brand new startup took gumption and ambition. Between all that, North started his own premium cocktail mixer business, an experience he calls his “PhD in marketing.”
“When you have no money you have to get very creative, so that experience forced us to look at interesting ways to try to drive consumer appeal, and it was very hard,” North says. Despite getting distribution in restaurants like Benihana’s and PF Chang’s, it became too difficult to continue its growth. No matter the setback, he says he takes the lessons learned and applies them to every opportunity he gets.
The following conversation is taken from the podcast and has been edited for brevity and clarity.