Battery Dicks Around in New Phallic Mike’s Harder Campaign

By Erik Oster 

Following a decision by the alcopop brand Mike’s to concentrate exclusively on digital advertisingindependent Los Angeles agency Battery launched a digital campaign introducing its new line of higher ABV offerings, Mike’s Harder, with some good old-fashioned juvenile penis humor.

In the 30-second “Speech,” for example, said schpiel is delivered by a blonde woman, who opens the spot with the suggestively-delivered, “Have things gotten soft? Ask your grocer about Mike’s Harder,” before almost dropping a can of the malt beverage and suggesting that it “might take two hands.” In the background, two men pitch a tent (literally). As the ad goes on, the woman continues the speech as one man wrestles with a watering hose and another sits on a pool noodle.

The phallic references, clearly, are not subtle, which is kind of the point. The sophomoric humor targets the kind of millenial men who were probably already cracking jokes about the Mike’s Hard name. Presumably the brand is assuming that the new line will appeal primarily to young men looking for a cheap buzz.

The exclusionary approach, however, may turn off others (and we’re pretty sure both guys and girls drink alcopop) from the main Mike’s Hard Lemonade brand. We’re also not sure we buy the assumption that women would automatically shy away from the higher ABV offering, or that there wasn’t a way to appeal to the stated core audience that has less potential to alienate other viewers. We’re certainly not averse to dick jokes, but the spots could have worked a little harder, haha, on the delivery. For a look at well-executed, brand-appropriate dick humor done right, check out Clemenger BBDO’s work for Bonds underwear.

At any rate, the approach extends to a series of 15-second spots, with clay pottery and a man kneading bread standing in for the phallic references. One of the spots makes reference to a certain highly-advertised drug, stating that you should seek medical attention if your Mike’s Harder lasts longer than four hours.

“The client wants to own it,” Battery CCO Philip Khosid told Adweek. “So we came up with something to engage the young male audience and be irreverent but still be clever about it with a play on words.”

The campaign will run at least until the end of the summer, possibly longer. “It’s funny and bold,” Mike’s Harder creative director Kevin Brady said of the campaign, which he thinks has staying power, “and it made us laugh out loud.”

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