This might be the best viral marketing stunt of 2018.
Grinder Toronto—a small café with a lot of persistence—got a visit from Ryan Gosling during his time in town for the Toronto International Film Festival after it tweeted out a series of pictures of a life-size cardboard cutout of the actor, branded espresso mug in hand.
Pioneered by the store’s owner, Joelle Murray, the campaign started like all good campaigns do, with a hashtag: #RyanNeedsGrinder.
Next, the mayor of Toronto, John Tory, stopped by and tweeted out his own picture with the cutout.
Then, Murray and the rest of the Grinder employees committed to 10 days of tweeting. Little did they know it wouldn’t be necessary!
The Grinder twitter account also tried to employ a little guilt-tripping, writing, “Come on, the whole city is behind this now.”
On the fourth day came a series of pictures of fans with cutout, doing all sorts of activities, from linking arms while munching a cookie to sipping some coffee. The accompanying tweet tempted Gosling, “Think of the fun you could have taking selfies with a selfie.”
RELATED VIDEO: Ryan Gosling Was Damien Chazelle’s Only Choice For ‘First Man’
Murray also provided impeccable directions.
The night before the premiere of Gosling’s new movie, First Man, Grinder tweeted pictures of the cutout being tucked into a massage table to relax. “We think you need a Me day to prepare. May we suggest a #matchalatte with a fresh new do and a massage,” the tweet said.
Murray also tried to pump Gosling up by mentioning her unsuccessful campaign to get Idris Elba to show up in a fictional tweet. “Idris Elba releases statement apologizing for last year’s no show . An anonymous source says Gosling beyond mad, as the timing is on the same day as the #FirstMan premiere. Gosling consulting with lawyers and @JustinTrudeau for legal next steps,” she wrote.
Gosling finally arrived in Toronto on day eight, and he showed up to the coffee shop the next day. Naturally he and Murray struck a sweet pose together. In the words of Murray, “take that Idris Elba!”
“As soon as I learned what the moon was, I learned that somebody named Neil Armstrong walked on it,” he said. “I can’t imagine a greater duality than that between the intimacy of the Armstrongs’ personal life and the infinite nature of space.”
As for the pressure of portraying an American hero? He joked that he’s fine—”as long as people don’t find out that I’m Canadian.”