Most food brands prefer their family advertising to be wholesome, hopefully mirroring the product, and leave the quirkiness to candy brands on a sugar high. But Droga5's first campaign for Johnsonville upends that tradition—with ads that celebrate family in its most comically unusual forms.
Among the oddball characters we meet in four new spots are a mobster neighbor; a grandmother who's actually a male drifter; and the most amusing man-child we've seen in a while. The point is that Johnsonville sausage brings people together and makes them family, whether they are or not.
The casting and acting have to be top notch in a campaign like this. And for the most part, they are—the man-child is a high point in particular. (The mobster is my least favorite of the bunch.) The tagline is, "We don't make sausage. We make family. And sausage."
The spots are timed to the beginning of summer grilling season, but the client wanted the message to go well beyond that—indeed, the desire to branch out and highlight its other sausage products led to the creative approach.
The goal was to "translate the emotional connection and passion our consumers have for our brand and from grilling brats, and build awareness for Johnsonville beyond brats," says Fabian Pereira, vp of marketing for Johnsonville.
"Johnsonville owns grilling, and that's great, but they also have a lot more to offer. Or at least a lot more sausage to offer," says Scott Bell, group creative director of Droga5. "We needed an idea that could just as easily talk about making pasta with Italian sausage or brunch with breakfast sausage. That's how we landed on the idea that when you're sharing Johnsonville, you're family. It doesn't matter if you're sharing brats at a tailgate or sharing a meal at Sunday night dinner, that act of sharing sausage forges a bond. A bond we refer to as sausage family."
Bell adds: "Homer Simpson said it best when he said, 'You don't make friends with salad.' We think he'd agree that you can do better than just make friends with sausage. You can make family."
Johnsonville is also planning some other fun stuff for the year, including a Brat Signal app and a "Bratfast in Bed" Father's Day campaign that encourages families to surprise Dad in bed with sausage and beer.
Vice President, Marketing: Fabian Pereira
Group Marketing Director: Jim Mueller
Group Marketing Director: Ryan Pociask
Agency: Droga5 NY
Creative Chairman: David Droga
Chief Creative Officer: Ted Royer
Group Creative Director: Scott Bell
Senior Copywriter: Ryan Raab
Senior Art Director: Dan Kenneally
Chief Creation Officer: Sally-Ann Dale
Head of Broadcast Production: Ben Davies
Executive Broadcast Producer: Jesse Brihn
Global Chief Strategy Officer: Jonny Bauer
Group Strategy Director: Aaron Wiggan
Senior Strategist: Nick Maschmeyer
Senior Strategist: Candice Chen
Communications Strategy Director: Brian Nguyen
Group Account Director: Dan Gonda
Account Director: Chris Einhauser
Account Manager: Kate Tyler Monroe
Production Company (Live Action Shoot): Arts & Sciences
Director: Matt Aselton
DOP: Corey Walter
Executive Producer: Marc Marrie
Managing Director: Mal Ward
Producer: Zoe Odlum
Production Company (Food Shoot): Schrom
Director: Michael Schrom
DOP: Michael Schrom
Executive Producer: Carl Sturges
Production Supervisor: Andrew Greenberg
Food Stylist: Rick Ellis
Editorial: Mackenzie Cutler
Editor (Family Favors, Misunderstood, Grandma): Ian Mackenzie
Editor (Stay At Home Son): Nick Divers
Assistant Editor: Mike Leuis
Executive Producer: Sasha Hirschfeld
Producer: Biz Lynskey
Postproduction: The Mill
Executive Producer: Jeremy Moore
Producer: Andrew Hamill
Lead Flame Artist: Ilia Mokhtareizadeh
Flame Artist: Brandon Danowski
Flame Artist: Emily Bloom
Sound: Mackenzie Cutler
Mixer: Sam Shaffer, Marc Healy