Mike’s Hard Lemonade Creates a ‘Happier’ Washington Post

It's part of a campaign to spread good news

MIke's Hard Lemonade bought a landing page for positive news at The Washington Post. The Washington Post

The Washington Post has a new kind of ad blocker today. The publisher is featuring a “Mike’s S(ad) Blocker” sponsored by Mike’s Hard Lemonade that will filter out all but good news for WaPo readers.

Clicking on ads for Mike’s Hard Lemonade will take readers to “The ‘happier’ Washington Post” where originally reported good news from WaPo is curated. The Washington Post homepage will remain its normal mixture of all types of content.

Mike’s worked with WaPo’s branded content team on the new page for the “happy content” which features tiles that, at first, advertise content written by the beverage company before flipping to the originally reported WaPo stories.

“We’ve created this magical world for Mike’s, which is a visually and emotionally bright place that’s unlocked with the twist of a cap,” said Tim Nolan, Executive Creative Director at Havas. “With this world, Mike’s then becomes the catalyst that unlocks those precious human experiences that can occur in any place that people gather.”

Because a lot of people begin the day by reading the news, said Sara Bailer, group planning director, Wavemaker Chicago, the goal was to come up with a campaign that helped them get off to a happy start.

“It’s a high challenge but a really rewarding one,” Bailer said. “Yes, we’re trying to sell alcohol, but we’re also trying to let people have a better day.”

In addition to being April Fools’ Day, today is also the beverage company’s birthday. The content will be available on the Mike’s Hard Lemonade page throughout April, but it’s just one medium Mike’s is using to roll out its comprehensive campaign. Three new digital and TV ads from Havas Chicago featuring people celebrating big days with Mike’s Hard Lemonade are also dropping today.

“We wanted to connect more deeply, emotionally and culturally around this feeling of happiness,” said Sanjiv Gajiwala, senior vice president of marketing, Mike’s Hard Lemonade Co., especially in this “polarized” time.

Mike’s Hard Lemonade is also putting bright yellow newsstands full of free newspapers with nothing but “positive” stories in 10 markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco.

The campaign, dubbed “The Brighter Times,” which will continue through the summer, will also include a study of how reading news affects people’s moods and a New York pop-up where people can experiment with facial recognition software to see how news affects them.

“What we’ve seen in the past couple of years over meme culture and internet culture is that consumers respond to happy news on their social feeds, and news sites and we want to be a brand that helps highlight and brighten people’s lives,” Gajiwala said.


Client/Brand: Mike’s Hard Lemonade

Campaign: Drink on the Bright Side

Creative Agency: Havas Chicago

Media Agency: Wavemaker

Executive Creative Director: Tim Nolan

Group Creative Director: Benny Jackson

Associate Creative Director, Copy: Eric Kripas

Copywriter: Tim Babb

Art Director: Paul Domingo

Executive Producer: Brigette Whisnant

Business Manager: Sylvia Sanchez

Senior Strategist: Casey Carpenter

Group Account Director: Chrissy Bouyea Gajiwala

Senior Account Director: Adam Burtaine

Project Manager: Sarah Scanlon



Director: Ross Cooper

Executive Producer: Rick Brown

Post Production



Editor: Volkert Besseling

@SaraJerde sara.jerde@adweek.com Sara Jerde is publishing editor at Adweek, where she covers traditional and digital publishers’ business models. She also oversees political coverage ahead of the 2020 election.