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The Hamm’s Bear Keeps Dancing


The Hamm’s Beer Bear made his debut in 1952. The bear, conceived by the Campbell Mithun advertising agency, was created to emphasize the superior cleanliness and naturalness of Hamm’s beer owing to its clear water and production in pristine Minnesota, the “enchanted Northland.” The Bear proved so popular it was used for the next three decades.

To this day the Bear looms large. Case in point – last Friday I purchased Hamm’s Beer (it’s inexpensive, light taste and perfect for my garage fridge) at the beer store where Hamm’s is relegated to the back corner of the cooler. At the checkout the clerk sang, A cappella, the entire Hamm’s Bear commercial in the spot below. Astounding! The campaign was pulled in 1969. How’s that for “brand stickiness”?

When marketing research determines a new logo or campaign is needed, such as the recent announcement the iconic Colonel Sanders of KFC doesn’t resonate with the under-25 crowd  – I’m stunned. I honestly have no idea what KFC’s position or brand proposition is…we have chicken? Why focus on the under-25 market when the ENTIRE MARKET HAS NO IDEA WHY THEY SHOULD BUY YOUR PRODUCT!

Take a good, hard look at your product, the brand message and delivery of that message. If all of those are good to go, which I doubt is the case for KFC, then take on “re-branding”.

Otherwise stay true to your brand and you’ll leave a lasting presence for decades – just as the perfectly cool Hamm’s Bear has done.

I’m heading to the garage to open a cool one right now.

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