CHICAGO: Five years after Mike’s Hard Limeade was discontinued, it is making a comeback in response to consumer demand.
In early March, Mike’s Hard Limeade returned to stores nationwide in Mike’s Hard Variety Packs. It is available in 12 packs to start but will be sold in standalone six-packs this summer.
To celebrate its return, in a campaign supported by Edelman and VCCP, the brand partnered with college basketball legend and retired NBA player Mike Miller. Together, they are encouraging fans to dial 1-866-TALK2MIKE to reach the “Mike’s Hard Comeback Hotlime” for a pep talk or inspirational game-day speech from Miller to help with their own comeback as they prep for the next game or bounce back from a loss.
Team not playing so hot?— mike's hard Lemonade (@mhl) March 24, 2023
Don’t sweat it. Call the Mike’s Comeback Hotlime at 1-866-TALK2MIKE to get a pep talk from Mike Miller. #TheOfficialDrinkofComebacks pic.twitter.com/NCFK7gwCMk
Mike’s Hard Limeade is also giving exclusive brand swag to fans that fought for the flavor’s return on social media. VCCP supported the social media aspects of the campaign.
Ben Sommer, brand manager for Mike's Hard Lemonade & Seltzer, said that the company is releasing new flavors because it is trying to stay “fresh and innovative” with its consumers. As part of that rotation, Limeade was taken off the shelves in 2018.
“A ton of consumers are constantly asking for various flavors to make a comeback and Limeade is far and away a fan favorite among consumers,” Sommer said. “So we felt like it was finally time to bring it back in a big way.”
He added that “consumers love a comeback.”
The brand decided to launch during the NCAA tournament because basketball is a relevant topic among consumers and it picked Miller as the face of the camapign to “create credibility around the activation knowing that he is a relatively famous college and professional basketball player who has familiarity with making a comeback,” Sommer said.
The campaign involves paid media support across Facebook and Instagram, led by media agency Haworth. Mike’s Hard Lemonade has also been engaging with fans on those channels, as well as Twitter. At the beginning of March, the brand posted teasers about the return of the drink.
We live for a comeback. pic.twitter.com/mt1AtcpBou— mike's hard Lemonade (@mhl) March 6, 2023
Sommer noted that Mike’s Hard Lemonade wants to be “laser focused” on consumers’ needs and desires.
“By bringing back a fan favorite, our hope is we build credibility with our consumers by giving them an engaging way to interact with the brand,” said Sommer. “If this is successful, we can continue to surprise and delight our superfans with the flavors they love or the ones they want us to bring back.”
Budget information was not disclosed.
Another product comeback that got consumers’ attention was the return of Taco Bell’s Mexican Pizza last year.
Editor's note: This story was updated on March 30 with more information about VCCP and Haworth's involvement in the campaign.