LAKEWOOD, CO: Controversial beverage maker Mike's Hard Lemonade has
taken on PR agency Lime to handle national and local media relations and
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.