Mike's Hard Lemonade adds Lime for grassroots and media efforts

LAKEWOOD, CO: Controversial beverage maker Mike's Hard Lemonade has

taken on PR agency Lime to handle national and local media relations and

grassroots marketing.

The client's offbeat TV ads by Cliff Freeman & Partners, which show

people losing limbs and being impaled by steel rods, have been

criticized by groups saying they're insensitive.

Mike's has also faced criticism that alcoholic products such as its hard

lemonade are designed to appeal to underage drinkers. The Center for

Science in the Public Interest has called on the federal government to

study the impact the so-called "alcopops" have on children.

Todd Martin, Mike's VP of national accounts and customer marketing, said

Lime was hired for its expertise in beverage PR and viral marketing, not

in response to any controversy.

Lime will provide counsel on responding to critics, but its main tasks

will be building the brand through guerrilla and viral marketing

techniques, Martin said.

Lime, a newly launched PR firm attached to ad agency Kirshenbaum Bond &

Partners, helped promote Snapple. "We really understand grassroots and

guerrilla marketing," said Lime MD Claudia Strauss.

The agency will have six people working on the Mike's account. It is

formulating plans for Mike's to reach out to groups that have criticized

its advertising, Strauss said.

Mike's got in touch with Lime through a personal referral and decided to

hire the agency because it "got the brand," said Martin. He wouldn't

comment on PR or marketing expenditures for the private company.

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