'Made the Johnsonville Way' turns gatecrashes a Rush gig and head back to the 1970s as Droga5 shows the right way to do inhouse creative
Today, Johnsonville Sausage released the second iteration of its Made The Johnsonville Way television campaign with two more employee-generated commercials.
The 72-year old, family-run company launched the campaign last May, introducing the world to the long-time company philosophy: “The Johnsonville Way.” It’s a way that puts the people of the company first, empowering them to have a stake in every part of the business. Over the past year, Droga5 took that mentality to the next level and had the employees come up with all of the company’s advertising.
For this second year of work, the agency once again traveled to Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin and interviewed close to a hundred Johnsonville employees (referred to as members at the company). This time, the brief was commercial ideas to launch the brand’s new, flame-grilled chicken product and to advertise it’s classic smoked rope sausage.
The first commercial, “Ruben and the Receders” comes from long-time Johnsonville member, Todd, who has worked in the company’s transportation department for nearly 22 years. The commercial stars him and his old 80’s band, playing the hair metal concert of their dreams. (The band is appropriately named “Reuben and the Receders” because all the members, besides guitarist Steve “Ruben,” have been balding for over two decades). Todd not only narrates the spot, but he and his three band mates flew to Toronto to star in the over-the-top concert, where the band introduces the world to Johnsonville’s new chicken.
From Associate Creative Director, Chris Colliton, “We didn’t just get the band back together, we got the band back together, gave them the long flowing hair they never had and got them to play on RUSH’s stage in front of thousands of people.” RUSH’s production designer, Howard Ungerleidern, built the stage, provided all the sound/lighting equipment and choreographed the lighting for the entire production.
The second commercial, “Guess the Price of That Food,” comes from eight-year Johnsonville member and massive game show fan, Cole. As Cole narrates his spot, we’re transported to the 1970s with a 4:3 aspect ratio, soft lens, mustard-colored set and charming host, “Murphy Charles” (named, by Cole, after the Johnsonville’s first-ever advertising character, Charlie Murphy).
From Associate Creative Director, Kevin Weir, “Cole came in last year and pitched a commercial idea that didn’t get picked. Before coming in this time, he spent weeks working with his mentor at Johnsonville to get more comfortable on camera. We didn’t know about this until way afterwards. He was so pumped to have his idea chosen.” Cole was also able to attend the production of his commercial to ensure it was truly Made The Johnsonville Way.
From ECD, Scott Bell, “It’s no surprise the best people for coming up with sausage (and chicken) commercials are the people who actually make those products.”