Mike’s Tangy Take On ‘Brand Stories’

Mike’s Tangy Take On ‘Brand Stories’


Mike’s Hard Lemonade – a ready-to-drink alcoholic beverage mixing lemons with a malt base – has been on the US market for over 20 years. It’s the favorite drink of Netflix’ new animated character the “Chicago Party Aunt” and it’s benefited from a boom in ready-to-drink brands led by millennials wanting something a little lighter than beers and ciders.

But how much do its drinkers know – or indeed care – about the Mike behind the brand? That’s the question Mike’s Hard Lemonade plays with in its “Tree Of Life” commercial from agency WorkInProgress, which started airing last month. The spot tells the legendary story of Mike, who went hunting for treasure in the form of a tree of apparently magical lemons. The ad then steps back to reveal this as a tall tale told by a camper to her friends, who quibble with the details before toasting Mike anyway.

The tone of the ad matches the tone of the brand in general – chatty, irreverent, on the customer’s side. It’s a brand that knows you don’t really care about its founder or brand story so it has fun with the idea of one, and how absurd they tend to be. Mike’s Hard Lemonade’s other recent ad showed a completely different origin story for “Mike”, so this might yet turn into a fluent device, offering increasingly ridiculous brand origins to its wised-up audience.

The result is a strong ad. It’s well-branded with a high Brand Fluency score for the category and an excellent short-term Spike Rating. The Star Score is good too – 4.0-Stars, though there’s room for improvement as the emotional journey flattens out when the story (absurd as it is) undercuts itself and the toast-to-Mike doesn’t provide much of a peak end. But for a smallish brand which doesn’t do a lot of TV work, this commercial does its job very nicely, reintroducing Mike’s and its tone of voice for audiences who might otherwise take it for granted.

Creative agency credit: WorkInProgress