Mike’s Hard Lemonade Created a Meme-Inspired Campaign to Target Millennial Men

It builds on last year's 'Drink on the Bright Side' effort with a Snapchat contest and pop-up events

Mike's Hard Lemonade

With temperatures in the Northeast already reaching well into the 80s this past week and Memorial Day just a few weeks away, malt beverage brand Mike’s Hard Lemonade launched a campaign priming viewers for the summer.

The brand continues to target males aged 25-29, a demographic it has previously had trouble reaching.

“Happiness is ultimately a social language—emojis, gifs and snaps—so we engage with our fans through meme-inspired creative and on their favorite platforms, such as Snapchat, to create a shareable experience,” said Mike’s Hard Lemonade senior vice president, marketing Sanjiv Gajiwala.

A series of broadcast and digital ads use internet-inspired humor, keeping things light and taking inspiration from common tropes that millennial audiences will be familiar with. In “Bird Party,” that means brightening up a party with raptors with some Mike’s Hard Lemonade, for example, while “Top 40 Banger” takes karaoke to the next level.

With their whimsical humor, the spots risk alienating audiences apart from its target demographic with an approach they may find off-putting.

“We didn’t want to make another typical beer commercial. It was created for and by students of the internet. What’s different about this campaign is that it’s not a campaign in the traditional sense—it’s culture,” said Havas North America CCO Jason Peterson. “You can’t tell this audience why they should buy Mike’s Hard Lemonade; you have to show them what it’s like to drink a Mike’s Hard Lemonade through meaningful content.

The effort builds on the “Drink on the Bright Side” campaign the brand launched last year. In addition to the broadcast and digital ads, the campaign also includes a social extension built around six packs with a Snapchat Snapcode contest calling for consumers to submit their best joke for a chance to win “their happiest weekend ever” and a custom Snapchat lens, in partnership with media agency Wavemaker. There’s also a series of The Bright Side popup events in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

“After seeing the success of last year’s ‘Drink on the Bright Side’ campaign, we wanted our loyal followers to truly experience the Bright Side in an intimate and tangible way. So we came up with a fully immersive, multisensory event with experiences proven to inspire happiness,” Gajiwala said.

“This popup will take consumers through a journey using color, food, music, comedy, relationships, travel and exercise that link back to actual existing studies on happiness—but with a Mike’s twist,” he added. “Attendees will literally taste happiness in a cotton candy forest, belt out their favorite tunes during a Mike’s ‘Caraoke’ session and enjoy a comedy show, among other surprises.”

The Bright Side pop-up will come to New York on May 10
Mike's Hard Lemonade

@ErikDOster erik.oster@adweek.com Erik Oster is an agencies reporter for Adweek.