Making coolers cool

We took the perception that coolers were for women and turned it on its head. From irreverent TV, to unforgettable packaging, to likely the first viral videos, we brought a take-no-prisoners, kick-ass attitude to Mike’s that beer lovers drank up.




Trade Show / Experiential

Case Study: Mike's Hard Lemonade - Lemons Were Hurt


In the shifting landscape of the beverage industry, Mike’s Hard Lemonade emerged as a unique offering: lemonade pre-mixed with vodka. But with big players set to launch similar products, the brand needed to solidify its position in the market. More than that, it had to overcome its inherent femininity to attract a more gender-neutral audience.


While Mike’s Hard Lemonade enjoyed early success with female consumers, it risked pigeonholing itself as a “girls’ drink.” This, coupled with an unassertive brand story, threatened its potential for long-term growth and market leadership. The challenge? Reposition Mike's in the crowded marketplace, making it resonate with young male consumers without alienating its existing female base.

Creative Solution:

1. Reframing Mike:Gone was the friendly lemonade stand operator. In his place stood a fearless, unyielding marauder of lemons. This new Mike personified audacity and rebellious spirit, attributes that resonated with the desired male audience.

2. Highlighting The Lemons:Emphasizing Mike's primary ingredient, the campaign shined a humorous light on the lemons’ newfound “plight.” We positioned them as victims, making Mike’s Hard Lemonade the proverbial lemonade-outlaw. The tagline, "Lemons were hurt real bad in the making of this product,” further strengthened this image.

3. Broad Integrated Communication:The lemon narrative permeated every possible medium:

  • TV: A series of faux-public service announcements depicted the dramatic “sufferings” of lemons, each ending with the unmistakable Mike’s branding.
  • Digital: Memes, GIFs, and interactive content played on the lemon peril, allowing users to "save" or "squeeze" lemons.
  • OOH: Billboards in key urban areas depicted "Wanted" posters of Mike and "Save the Lemons" rallies.
  • Experiential: Pop up events allowed consumers to experience the "lemon rebellion" firsthand with interactive games and challenges.
  • Sales and POS: Every sales sheet and point of sale was marked with brand reminders, consistently asking: “What would Mike do?”


  1. Enhanced Brand Recognition: Mike’s Hard Lemonade saw a spike in brand awareness, shooting up from 20% to 85%. This meant that 8 in 10 consumers recognized the brand — an unprecedented achievement for a then-niche product.
  2. Shifted Consumer Base: The male consumption rate, previously stagnating at 25%, soared to 65%. The brand's repositioning and tonality hit home with the target demographic.
  3. Sustained Market Leadership: Despite facing competition from larger, more established brands, Mike's Hard Lemonade maintained its leadership status in the category. This was attributed to its bold differentiation strategy and consistent brand message.


The Lemons Were Hurt Campaign for Mike’s Hard Lemonade showcases the transformative power of creative rebranding. By identifying a singular, compelling truth, and weaving it through a humorous and memorable narrative, it became possible to rewrite the brand's story and solidify its position in the market. Mike's Hard Lemonade wasn't just a drink; it was a movement, one that was both mischievous and refreshing.

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