Perri Performs in New TV Work

Kerker looks to give Johnsonville’s Perri Italian Sausage a dose of authenticity with its first campaign for the brand.

The television effort, which breaks this week in the Northeast, juxtaposes an operatic soundtrack with lingering cooking shots and the tagline, “True Italian taste.”

“We thought about a lot of things that said Italian. The life, the emotion and the passion of opera seemed right,” said Chris Pres-ton, the Minneapolis shop’s creative director. The agency also consciously tried to stay away from “the food ballet” of quick cuts to give it a more authentic feel, Preston said.

One spot shows the sausage being cooked in a cast-iron skillet among bell peppers and onions as the opera music plays. As the sausages are removed from the pan, a spot of oil in the shape of Italy remains.

A second commercial shows sausages cooking in a skillet backed by a male voice, while tomatoes in a colander are represented by a woman’s voice. The spot alternates between the two foods as the voiceovers shift on the soundtrack, ending on a gasp of surprise when they touch on a cutting board at the end of the ad.

A third spot breaking later this year pits the sausages against a knife in operatic fashion.

“It’s Italy, love and tragedy, all in a pan,” Preston said of the three spots together.

The TV ads are the first new work for Perri in several years. Though Johnsonville is based in Sheboygan, Wis., the Perri sausages are based on a 465-year-old recipe from northern Italy.

The campaign is airing only in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts markets, which have large Italian American populations.

“These people are true sausage afficionados,” Preston said. “That’s why we wanted to make it real.”

Spending for the effort was un-disclosed. CMR lists virtually no ad expenditures for Perri over the past several years. Johnsonville spent nearly $10 million on all advertising last year.