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Mad Science Leads Hoopla for Hype

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NEW YORK Mad Science Creative will lead the charge for Hype, a maker of high-energy drinks that aims to position itself as the hard-to-find alternative to market leader Red Bull.

The New York advertising and public relations shop won agency of record status after brokering a distribution deal with Randy Gerber's Midnight Oil Productions, which has brought Hype to the W Hotel's upscale Whisky Blue lounges nationwide, said MSC creative director Decker Watson. In addition to the lounges, Hype is also available at Walgreen's, convenience stores and drugstore chains, but its reach is limited, Watson said.

"A lot of brands come in fly-by-night and blow their marketing [budget]" on high-profile [media] buys, Watson said. "We wanted to find something they can afford and build on that slowly."

Instead of a nationwide campaign, the shop will take a market-by-market approach Watson hopes will give the beverage staying power while building brand recognition among consumers. Work will likely continue to use "Seek the Hype" as a tagline, and the agency will redouble its efforts in the Southwest, primarily in Las Vegas, he said.

A $1 million campaign will include print ads in "laddie" magazines like Stuff, Maxim and Blender and TV spots on late-night television. Radio, online and public relations will round out the media mix.