Despite Strong Sales, Mike's Hard Lemonade Moves Ad Business

Arnold Grabs Account From Amalgamated

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CHICAGO ( -- Mike's Hard Lemonade has shifted its creative advertising account to ArnoldNYC, following a competitive review, according to people familiar with the matter.

The New York office of Havas-owned Arnold Worldwide beat out Omnicom's Energy BBDO and Cutwater for the account, which was held by independent Amalgamated, New York, since early 2008. Before that, the account was at now-defunct shop We Are Gigantic.

The review does not affect media chores, which are handled by independent Horizon Media.

That Mike's was in review at all is a bit puzzling, considering the brand posted low-double-digit sales gains during 2009, a period in which competitors in the flavored malt beverage category such as Smirnoff Ice and Bacardi Silver posted declines. (Sales of Mike's core lemonade brand also declined, but robust sales of line extensions boosted the company's sales.)

Amalgamated's campaign for the brand focused on its Seattle headquarters, where a "soft" intern continuously ran afoul of his gruff superiors at the "hard" marketer.

Mike's spent about $9 million on measured media through the first nine months of 2009, according to WPP's Kantar Media.

Calls to Mike's yesterday were not returned, and a spokeswoman for ArnoldNYC declined to comment.

The review was managed by Ark Advisors.

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