Johnsonville Appeals to Real Men

CHICAGO Kerker asserts that paradise can be found in ground meat and spices in its new campaign for Johnsonville.

The Minneapolis agency adds the theme, “Welcome to heaven on a bun,” in addition to the year-old tag, “Welcome to Johnsonville.”

Four television spots, breaking the week of April 28, evoke the tone of Wieden + Kennedy’s Miller High Life campaign in its attempt to appeal to real men and their honor. In one spot, narration by Jim Belushi details the tradition of boiling bratwurst in beer before grilling. “Any recipe that starts out, ‘Open three beers’ is worth a shot,” says Belushi. “And if the first bite reminds a certain someone of why she married him, welcome to heaven on a bun.”

Using comedic actor Belushi was one of the ways the Minneapolis shop tried to avoid being too similar to the award-winning High Life campaign, said Kerker creative director Chris Preston. But doing so was difficult, he said. “That campaign is obviously geared toward guys, and ours is too,” Preston said. “It’s hard to get near a grill and not do that [attitude].”

Other executions show a man interrupting a rookie griller before he pokes some Johnsonville bratwurst and a man using pliers as an improvised grilling utensil. The tack was based on the agency’s research that included interviewing early morning tailgaters at sporting events and attending backyard barbecues in Wisconsin, Preston said. “We really tried to capture the reality of the core griller and core grilling moments,” he said.

The television effort will run in spot markets in the Midwest and on national cable channels. It will be complemented by a weather-triggered radio campaign.

Johnsonville spent about 70 percent of its $10 million budget during the key grilling months of May to September last year, according to CMR.