A reader who saw this picture of the Hamm’s bear asks if the bear had a name.
Wikipedia has the answer. Hamm’s employees called the bear Sascha, after the wife of the founder of the company, but the namenever actually was mentioned in commercials:
The Hamm’s Beer bear was created by Patrick DesJarlait, an Ojibwa, in 1952 for an advertising campaign produced by the Campbell-Mithun advertising agency. For a period, a real bear named Sascha trained by Earl Hammond appeared in commercials as well.
It was so well-known and identified with Minnesota that the St. Paul Pioneer Press named the bear as a runner-up on its list of “150 Influential Minnesotans of the Past 150 Years” in 2000.
An excellent story at BeerHistory.com points out Sasha wasn’t a hit only in Minnesota:
Making his television debut in 1953, the Hamm’s bear ultimately became one of history’s most recognized advertising figures. In 1965, the Audit Research Bureau reported that the bear ranked first in “best liked” advertisements nationwide, an impressive achievement considering that Hamm’s commercials aired in only 31 states.
At least two aspects of the Hamm’s bear commercials were critical to their overwhelming success. First, each spot was, in itself, a miniature story, complete with plot, characters, conflict, and (if the bear was lucky) resolution. The spots had genuine entertainment value and elicited good viewer attention. Second, the animation and interspersed real-life shots dramatically showcased Minnesota’s pristine wilderness – the crystal-clear lakes, the heavy foliage, the abundant wildlife – in order to drive home the Hamm’s theme: “From the Land of Sky Blue Waters.” Consumer perception that Hamm’s Beer was pure, natural and refreshing was thus achieved through vivid imagery instead of trite, easily forgettable ad copy.