Mike’s Hard Lemonade tested a variety of ad creative on Instagram and Facebook in a campaign to increase brand favorability, and saw a 5.9-point lift in brand affinity using storytelling-focused creative versus short GIF-like content.

“Drink on the bright side”

Mike’s Hard Lemonade Co. is a flavored malt beverage supplier based in Chicago, Illinois, founded by the Mark Anthony Group in 1999. Mike’s uses real fruit juice concentrate and carefully selected lemons in a variety of flavors, from original Lemonade to Black Cherry and seasonal Watermelon.


lift in brand affinity


lift in action intent


lift in ad recall

We wanted to understand which type of creative would drive a deeper emotional connection with our audience, and test in an environment in which consumers would be naturally exposed to and impacted by the content. The results shaped our creative strategy moving forward, showing us how to best use our production budget to create social content that drove brand results.
Boosting brand favorability

Mike’s Hard Lemonade wanted to test different ad creative to see what worked best to boost brand favorability for its line of flavored malt beverages.

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Comparing ad creative

Mike’s Hard Lemonade, in partnership with its media agency Wavemaker, decided to run a two-cell test that compared different types of ad creative to understand what works better at building brand awareness and brand affinity.

Cell 1 consisted of short-form video ads that were purposefully built just for mobile-viewing and included fast-paced ads with GIF-like scenes without a human-focused concept or story—such as bottle tops popping on and off the product, an ode to a popular television show, and a happy breaking news announcement.

Cell 2 consisted of storytelling-focused creative that was cut slightly down from existing long-form ads and converted following mobile-first best practices. The storytelling-focused creative used personalized narrative concepts around themes like joyfully celebrating work anniversaries, wedding receptions and birthdays together with friends, family and frosty bottles of Mike’s. All of these eye-catching ads ended with the messaging: “Drink on the Bright Side.”

The company showed the Cell 1 and 2 ads to US adults aged 25–34 and used interest-based targeting to locate the most relevant audiences. It also used the automatic placements function to deliver the ads in Instagram feed, Instagram Stories or Facebook News Feed, depending on which placement was most likely to provide the best campaign results at the lowest possible cost at any given time.

Mike’s Hard Lemonade determined the results of this April 1–May 6, 2019 campaign using a two-cell test and a Facebook brand lift study, which revealed that the more universal narrative-focused creative drove a:

  • 5.9-point lift in brand affinity

  • 2.6-point lift in action intent

  • 17-point lift in ad recall