Johnsonville and Sausage Magnetism

Johnsonville and Sausage Magnetism


When thinking of bratwursts, Johnsonville quickly pops into mind. When thinking about Italian sausage or breakfast sausage, the Johnsonville brand comes to mind more slowly if at all.

People use the ease with which a brand comes to mind as a shortcut in brand evaluation because carefully comparing the options is usually too much trouble. So mental availability, or what might be called mental pop, is crucial.

In order to build its mental availability in sausage generally, Johnsonville has created a series of humorous ads. These two, “Grandma” and “Stay at Home Son,” are, by far, the best. Distinctiveness builds mental pop and these commercials are nothing like other sausage commercials. They are not just different, they are fun and funny and worth sharing. The mental availability of the Johnsonville brand in Italian sausage and breakfast sausage will be growing.

And these two ads do more.

Since it is difficult to explicitly communicate great taste, advertisers often imply great taste by illustrating the outrageous things people will do to consume the product. The antics of the characters in “Grandma” and “Stay at Home Son” do a nice job communicating extreme desire for Johnsonville sausage and, hence, they communicate great taste better than any explicit claim could.

The folks who created the ads say, “…the act of sharing sausage forges a bond, a bond we refer to as sausage family.” This is an interesting idea, translating the experience of sharing sausage into the emotional reward of strengthening a family bond. But that is not exactly what the ads do. These spots say that serving Johnsonville sausage has a magnetic effect drawing people to the family not out of a warm emotion but out of taste desire.

These two ads, “Grandma” and “Stay at Home Son” work great making the Johnsonville brand pop into mind for more than just brats and suggesting a taste that drives people crazy.

The other two spots, “Misunderstood” and “Family Flavor” (not featured here), don’t work as well. In those spots, no one is driven to outrageous behavior out of desire for Johnsonville sausage. The jokes in both “Misunderstood” and “Family Flavor” are mildly amusing but imply nothing about the product.

“Grandma” and Stay at Home Son” should get the bulk of the rotation.

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