Mike's Hard Lemonade Seeks New Agency

Malt Beverage Brand Looks for New Partner Even as Sales Surge

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Mike's Hard Lemonade
Mike's Hard Lemonade
Mike's Hard Lemonade is reviewing ad agencies yet again, looking for new ideas less than two years after handing the account to ArnoldNYC.

"We are doing a limited search as we speak," Mike's President Philip O' Neil told Ad Age .

Arnold is not defending the account. "Our partnership with Mike's Hard Lemonade helped them achieve double-digit growth for the past two years," the agency said in a statement."We're proud of what we accomplished, and we wish them the best with their next agency partner."

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.

The new search might seem surprising considering that Mike's is on a roll of late, with sales up 33.8% in the 52 weeks ending Sept. 4, according to SymphonyIRI. But the move is consistent with the recent track record of the company, which has been a serial reviewer as of late. Sales were also surging in early 2010 when Mike's shifted the account to ArnoldNYC, the New York office of Havas-owned Arnold Worldwide. The agency took the account from independent Amalgamated, which only had it for two years after winning it in early 2008 from now-defunct We Are Gigantic.

Mr. O' Neil declined to elaborate on why the marketer put the account into review.

Mike's leads the 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. Overall sales in the volatile category were up 11% in the period, according to SymphonyIRI.

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 convenient store beer aisle.

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Contributing: Rupal Parekh

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