By Published on .

If the transition from selling shoes to selling beer seems improbable for Sandy Saemann, the co-founder of L.A. Gear offers a reason.

"When you look to putting out 185 styles of shoes every four months, then you have to do it all over again and you do it for almost 10 years, beer looks relatively simple," he says. "The beer guys might not agree, but let 'em try to market shoes. They'll be back in an hour."

Two years after being forced out as exec VP in charge of marketing at L.A. Gear, Mr. Saemann is president and owner of Brewski

Brewing Co. in Culver City, Calif. The company is introducing

Brewski Pub Classic and Pub Light, first in southern California,

with an eye toward a national rollout.

"It's a way to give my love back to the business," he says. "I wanted a less complicated consumer-related brand." The brand's ad theme line, written by Mr. Saemann, is: "I said a Brewski."

During his decade of 17hour days at L.A. Gear, Mr. Saemann wrote most of the brand's early advertising. He hired Ogilvy & Mather, Los Angeles, in 1986, but fired the agency after several weeks. In early 1991, he turned

creative for the $68 million account over to BBDO Worldwide, but the agency quit after just nine weeks when Mr. Saemann altered the campaign. This time, Mr. Saemann, 46, insists he will turn over all creative functions to an outside agency. Just who that will be remains to be seen. Brewski expects to spend about $1 per case sold on advertising, so the budget will be significantly smaller than L.A. Gear's.

"I can't be the president, do banking, dinners and distribution and do that," Mr. Saemann says.

"This time, I won't do it. Life has changed a lot."

He cites Coca-Cola Co.'s hiring of Hollywood talent shop Creative Artists Agency as an example of the way client-agency relationships have changed.

"Now it's OK," he says. "The weather is a little different. I'm

not against agencies, but they

don't like when I stick my 2 cents in."

Assuming Mr. Saemann finds an agency, his slogan and Brewski brand name will soon be emblazoned on outdoor boards all over the country. Brewski ads will begin in Los Angeles soon, with expansion to other major cities by next summer.{EOP}

And plans for the brand don't stop there. Already, more than a dozen pieces of Brewski clothing have been licensed.

The humorous brand name is expected to win consumer trial of Brewski. But it is hoped samplers will be converted by the beer's fuller taste, which Mr. Saemann says was crafted by a brewing expert. Brewski Pub Classic recently won a bronze medal for U.S. lager beers at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver.

Mr. Saemann says his lifelong interest in alcohol marketing began when he worked in a grocery story liquor department during college. His personal collection of beer signs and beer paraphernalia numbers in the thousands.

"Some guys want to own a racehorse," he says. "I wanted a liquor


Most Popular
In this article: