Grey Snags Mike's Hard Lemonade Account

Win Marks Company's Fourth Agency in As Many Years

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Grey has won creative ad duties for Mike's Hard Lemonade after a review, according to people familiar with the matter, as the flavored malt beverage maker turns to its fourth agency in four years.

Mike's Hard Lemonade
Mike's Hard Lemonade

It was a swift pitch, and the final round was understood to be a shootout between the WPP shop, Chicago-based Trisect and Omnicom Group's DDB, Chicago. Representatives for the agencies and Mike's President Phillip O' Neil did not immediately return calls.

Grey takes over the account from the New York office of Havas' Arnold , which chose not to defend. The marketer initiated the review less than two years after giving the assignment to the Havas-owned shop. Arnold had taken it from independent Amalgamated, which only had it for two years after winning it in early 2008 from now-defunct We Are Gigantic.

Mike's latest agency switch comes even as it continues to enjoy strong momentum, with sales up 33.8% in the 52 weeks ending Sept. 4, according to SymphonyIRI.

Seattle-based Mike's sells a variety of flavored malt beverages including its flagship lemonade brand, spending $10.2 million on measured media in 2010, according to Kantar Media. It's the market leader in the so-called progressive-adult-beverage category with $296 million in sales and 30% market share, ahead of Diageo's Smirnoff Ice, which had nearly 21% share in the year ending Sept. 4, according to SymphonyIRI, which excludes Walmart and liquor stores.

Mike's current campaign encourages drinkers to "switch things up from regular beer," including one ad that features a lemonade stand in the middle of a convenience-store beer aisle.

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