‘Frogs’ Creators Leap to Arnold

The creative team behind the first Budweiser frogs commercials has joined Arnold and is working on the new Jack Daniel’s Original Hard Cola beverage being marketed by Jack Daniel’s and Miller Brewing.

Mike Smith and Dave Swaine were hired by Arnold’s St. Louis office as vice presidents and associate creative directors. Their longtime shop, D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles in St. Louis, shut its doors in March after being buffeted by years of client losses.

Arnold, formerly Simmons Durham and the longtime agency for Brown-Forman Beverages, parent of Jack Daniel’s, is preparing a campaign for Hard Cola for July, when the beverage becomes available in taverns and restaurants, a Miller representative said.

The “malternative” entry, which Brown-Forman and Miller are hoping will be a year-round item rather than a summer splash, will hit stores in September. Smith and Swaine’s initial assignment is working on the launch campaign, the agency said.

Smith and Swaine created the Budweiser frogs in 1994 and won a gold Lion in Cannes. D’Arcy lost Anheuser-Busch as a client that year, however, and the campaign was extended successfully by DDB Chicago. Smith and Swaine subsequently worked on D’Arcy’s Southwestern Bell and M&M/Mars ac counts. They also worked on the agency’s relaunch for Molson.

The pair surprised some in the St. Louis ad community by staying with the agency even as its client list and chances for survival dwindled.

Attempts to reach Smith and Swaine for comment were not successful.

Spending on the Hard Cola launch was still being worked out, the Miller representative said. The brewer’s partnerships with other liquor companies have resulted in an outlay of $40-50 million.

Miller has teamed with Allied Domecq on two products, Sauza Diablo and Stolichnaya Citrona. The brewer is working with Skyy Spirits on Skyy Blue.

Stoli Citrona is being handled by Allied Domecq roster shop BBDO Chicago, while Sauza Diablo is at dRush in New York.

Lambesis in Carlsbad, Calif., agency for Skyy Vodka, is handling Skyy Blue.