CHICAGO, May 22, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- With millennials on an ongoing search for happiness, Mike's Hard Lemonade launched a new multichannel advertising campaign today, "Drink on the bright side." Created by The Annex, an agency powered by Havas Chicago, the campaign is designed to spark laughter and generate smiles through content that mixes eccentric yet hilarious Internet culture with playful, surreal animation. The marketing push brings digital-style video to television in a radically new way, and marks the first time Mike's shifts away from speaking about the occasion around drinking a Mike's Hard Lemonade to the emotion felt when drinking it—happiness.
"We're living in a time full of a lot of negativity, and lemonade is an inherently happy flavor. So it's silly to think about sad people drinking Mike's," said Sanjiv Gajiwala, Vice President of Marketing, Mike's Hard Lemonade. Gajiwala also believes that, "Mike's is the only brand in alcohol beverage that is exclusively about happiness; by owning the happy feeling you experience when drinking a hard lemonade, we're having a conversation and an interaction with our consumers that's relevant to them."
Despite explosive category growth and increased product competition from rival brewers, Mike's Hard Lemonade's strategy of engaging and reaching millennials with a nontraditional, digital-heavy approach has helped the company outperform the entire Flavored Malt Beverage category. Last year, a mostly digital media strategy drove consumption up 12 percent in the U.S.— incredible results in a beer category that has trended flat in the past decade. Last summer, Mike's Hard variety pack was the best-selling variety pack in all of beer and Mike's Hard watermelon, the summer seasonal flavor, was the fastest-selling 6-pack in the Flavored Malt Beverage category.
In addition, Mike's Hard Lemonade has sustained enormous growth by staying aggressively innovative in the category it created, and keeping relentlessly focused on evolving and improving the Mike's brand through flavor diversity and product variety. As a result, Mike's Hard Lemonade is now the fastest-growing top-10 beer company in America, according to Chicago-based market research firm IRI. 2016 was the fourth straight year of year-over-year growth, and total sales grew to $293 million, according to IRI data. Continued investments in social, experiential and retail channels have allowed the company to re-establish Mike's and Mike's HARDER as the go-to brands for consumers and the No.1 Flavored Malt Beverage brands in grocery, mass and convenience store channels.
The company hopes this marketing pivot will help to expand its customer base and maintain the strong growth it's experienced since its inception in 1999.
"We're successful because we spend more time thinking about what's in the bottle and building a personal relationship with our consumers," said Phil Rosse, President, Mike's Hard Lemonade. "Flavor is our business, and tastes and palates are changing. We want to continue to be the company that introduces the best-tasting flavors and varieties that are always on trend, and delivers quality products to consumers at the experiences and activities where they enjoy them."
For the brand's latest campaign, Mike's Hard Lemonade partnered with The Annex to develop the creative content that focuses on connecting with its core target customer, males ages 25 to 29. The agency utilized live action and green screens to bring unexpected, visually disruptive and unusual—though relatable—Internet content to viewers. In digital pre-roll video "Rocket Shoes," the character cracks open a Mike's and experiences the unbelievable feeling of flying, thanks to rocket shoes strapped to his feet. In a television spot titled "Jackpot," the creative brings to life the interests of millennials through a game of slot machines and a stroke of luck that represents happiness and transports the character to a lazy river at a water park.
Global media agency Maxus was selected to manage the media strategy and placement, including television, digital, social media and wild postings. Throughout the summer, ads will air on Comedy Central, Viceland, FOX Sports and FX, all popular networks among millennials, and pre-roll video will run on YouTube and Hulu. On social media, the agency leveraged Imgur to promote custom content and worked with Snapchat to create a tailored branded offering. Other app partners such as Spotify will play radio ads and post standard banners; PopKey, powered by Receptiv, will allow consumers to share GIFs through an installed mobile keyboard app; Emogi will generate specially-designed stickers that will be seen across messaging apps like iMessage.
Finally, Mike's Hard Lemonade co-developed a new mikeshard.com website with Havas digital agency Helia that is now live.
To complement the campaign launch, Mike's Hard Lemonade will embark on a "Happy Camper" mobile sampling tour. Featuring a custom-wrapped, bright yellow trailer, the tour will stop in select markets where attendees can try mike's flavors and take part in special brand experiences. Additionally, Havas Formula will amplify the campaign with a PR program that delivers happiness in unexpected ways through press, influencer and consumer engagements.
"We're more focused on connecting with millennials through the content they love and in the places that matter to them most," said Gajiwala. "That's why we tapped The Annex. This is our opportunity to make hard lemonade better fit into millennials' lifestyles so that they're more compelled to pick up a pack of Mike's at the grocery store for the next happy hour, barbecue or summertime event."
Campaign spots can be viewed in the links below. For more information on Mike's Hard Lemonade, visit www.mikeshard.com.
About Mike's Hard Lemonade Co.
Founded in 1999, Chicago-based Mike's Hard Lemonade Co. defined the $3.2 billion flavored malt beverage category with the introduction of its groundbreaking mike's® hard lemonade. Mike's product line is comprised of premium malt beverages including mike's hard lemonade and mike's HARDER lemonade. The company also produces Cayman Jack, a line of premium prepared cocktails, and White Claw Hard Seltzer.
MIKE'S IS HARD. SO IS PRISON. DON'T DRIVE DRUNK.® © 2017 Mike's Hard Lemonade Co., Chicago, IL. www.mikeshard.com.™ is a trademark and ® is a registered trademark of Mike's Hard Lemonade Co.
SOURCE Mike's Hard Lemonade Co.