Leinie’s Shops Pull Out Blue Books

Two Dozen Hopefuls Pen Essays on the Brand, Yielding 6 Finalists
CHICAGO-An essay contest of sorts was used by Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing to select the six agencies as finalists for the company’s account.
About two dozen shops were asked to write about their understanding of Leinenkugel’s, its marketing and its brand, according to executives at some of the agencies.
“It was nice that they asked for spec thinking instead of spec work,” said Bill Eisner Jr., chairman of William Eisner & Associates, Hales Corners, Wis., one of the finalists. “It was about quality of thought rather than how many departments you have or whatever.”
The other finalists for the business are Carmichael Lynch and Clarity Coverdale Fury, both in Minneapolis; Kohnke Hanneken, Milwaukee; Bender, Browning, Dolby & Sanderson, Chicago; and Jacobson Rost, Sheboygan, Wis. Presentations are set for late May.
Carmichael Lynch has the most recent major-label beer experience, having handled Samuel Adams until last year, when the brand was shifted to McCann-Erickson, New York, following a review.
Leinenkugel’s, owned by Miller Brewing in Milwaukee, was formerly at Young & Rubicam, Chicago. Y&R’s New York office handled Miller’s Molson and Icehouse brands until February, when they were moved to Square One in Dallas. Leinenkugel’s was put into review by the unit’s marketing team, led by vice president of sales and marketing Dick Leinenkugel.
In its letter to prospective agencies, the company stressed it had been happy with Y&R and indicated it has no plans to deviate sharply from its existing ad course.
The essay approach was lauded by several who participated-even those not chosen as finalists.
“I thought it was totally unique,” said Peter Zapf, director of business development at McConnaughy Stein Schmidt Brown, Chicago. “It [involved] less time talking about ourselves and more time thinking about the brand.”
Leinenkugel’s spent just $175,000 on advertising in 1998, according to Competitive Media Reporting. A larger promotional effort this year, pegged at $3 million, is backed by radio spots from Y&R on which the brewer will spend an estimated $1 million. The ads tout the beer’s North Woods heritage and family brewing tradition. The tagline is, “The legend of the North Woods.” ƒ 4