Ad of the Day: Campaign for Mike’s Harder Isn’t Very Subtle About the Racy Brand Name

Agency wants to be 'irreverent but still be clever about it'

Don't go soft—get some balls.

When the product name is Mike's Harder and the target is millennial men, it's impossible not to bust out the dick jokes. Why fight it? It's the low-hanging fruit, so to speak, and the brand and its new agency are going there, unequivocally.

Mike's Hard Lemonade brand Mike's Harder—some call it an "alcopop," but technically it's a "premium malt beverage"—rolls out a brazen bunch of sight gags in three digital ads launching today. They involve having characters pitch a tent (literally), sit on a pool noodle, knead lifeless bread dough and wrestle a garden hose. Get it? No, really—get it?

It's the first work from Los Angeles indie agency Battery, whose chief creative officer Philip Khosid said subtlety can be overrated. "The client wants to own it," Khosid said. "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."

Client marketing execs have spent the past few years differentiating Harder, a convenience-store staple, from the core brand, the already quirky Mike's Hard Lemonade. They've collaborated with graffiti artists and fans to design collectible cans and tied in with Fox's R-rated blockbuster Deadpool, said Harder's creative director Kevin Brady.

Sales for the brand—which is 8 percent alcohol, packaged in 16-ounce and 23.5-ounce sizes and dubbed by Serious Eats as "a tasty, sleazy way to get a $3 buzz"—are up 13 percent year over year, he said.

The new campaign will run through the summer or longer. "It's funny and bold," Brady said, "and it made us laugh out loud." He thinks it has, well, staying power.

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