FlashStock Technology Inc.

Mike's Hard Lemonade + Shutterstock Custom

Mike's Hard Lemonade Co. is a United States-based premium malt beverage maker. Founded in 1999, Mike’s holds the leading position in the Flavored Malt Beverage category, bringing superior taste, flavor and fun to refreshment-loving consumers. The company produces a family of brands, including its flagship and original mike's® hard lemonade, mike’s HARDER, White Claw Hard Seltzer, Cayman Jack, and Palm Breeze.

Kellye Lopez is the Digital and Social Media Manager at Mike’s Hard Lemonade. She oversees all digital properties, social strategy and campaign execution across the company’s portfolio of brands and social channels.

We believe all work and no play should be illegal – that’s why Mike’s is HARD, so life doesn’t have to be. As an upbeat brand that embraces the humor in life, we’re all about being fun and inspirational for your favorite times, and this comes through in our creative and unconventional content. In other words, let’s crack open a Mike’s and get the creative juices flowing.


Multiple platforms have been supporting vertical videos for a while now, and testing shows higher engagement than regular videos. However, brands need a cost effective way to create high volumes of customized content to make vertical videos successful.

Mike’s Hard Lemonade wanted to share a fun and engaging Instagram Stories teaser post around a winter seasonal flavor with the objective of generating intrigue in a new product launch. Instagram Stories was perfect for unpacking content gradually, giving it a teaser feel. However, Mike’s Hard Lemonade was new to Instagram Stories and needed help with creative best practices.

In order to do this, Mike’s Hard Lemonade wanted to work with a creative technology solution to understand the implications and considerations for creating organic Instagram Stories. They also wanted to make the announcement timely before the product was on shelves, so the turnaround needed to be quick. The ideal solution for Mike’s Hard Lemonade would scale content creation quickly at a reasonable price.


Through the Shutterstock Custom solution, Mike’s Hard Lemonade calibrated their brand look and feel, then submitted a creative brief to photographers and videographers for a product release.

Using a winter reveal theme, contributors had to hide a bottle of Mike’s Hard Chilled Cherry in a block of ice and find a creative way to melt and reveal the product. All photos and videos were shot in vertical format for Instagram Stories.

Simultaneously, Mike’s Hard Lemonade was running a second creative brief to create still images for their regular Instagram feed, creating a holistic visual campaign.

Mike’s Hard Lemonade’s Instagram Story consisted of 3 stills and 2 videos that incorporated fun and creative post-production design and animations. Reaching 10% of the organic audience with a churn rate of 27%, the Instagram Story performed in the top quadrant of similar companies in an Instagram Stories experiment conducted with multiple creative vendors.

“As an increasingly important social channel for our brands, we knew we wanted to begin experimenting with Instagram Stories, and as a category market leader, we have to produce only the best-in-class content. So it was a no-brainer to work with Shutterstock Custom. Not only did they bring creative solutions and valuable insights to our first-ever Instagram Story, they also delivered on high quality work, strong communication and a tight timeline.”
- Kellye Lopez, Digital and Social Media Manager, Mike’s Hard Lemonade

The project took 20 days in total to complete, from briefing to product procurement, to shooting and posting on Instagram Stories.

Learn how Shutterstock Custom can help you globally scale content creation by requesting a demo.