Ad of the Day: Droga5 Cooks Up a Hilariously Skewed Take on Family for Johnsonville

Going beyond grilling

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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.


Client: Johnsonville

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

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.