While seeing their (presumably) beloved Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl is up to the fates – and perhaps quarterback Aaron Rodgers – Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin-based Johnsonville is taking matters into its own hands when it comes to game day food.
In fact, to encourage the consumption of Johnsonville sausages on Super Bowl Sunday, the brand launched what agency partner Droga5 called an “all-out sausage reality show,” Sausage Dome.
The result is kind of like Shark Tank meets MasterChef – and even has a potential catchphrase – “You may leave the Dome now” – although it was perhaps underutilized in the first episode of “the most intense sausage recipe reality series on the Internet.”
Johnsonville launched the three-part digital video series on January 11. A Droga5 rep said the second episode will premiere January 19, followed by the final episode on January 26.
In each episode, three contestants “from all around America” pitch a game day recipe to six Johnsonville employees known as “The Sausage Six.”
Members of the Sausage Six grill – pun intended – contestants on their dishes, and dig for personal information like, “What’s your favorite animal?” They also make wry observations such as, “I like onions if they’re onion rings.”
According to the Droga5 rep, the agency has “really gotten to know many Johnsonville members with all their different personalities, quirks and Sheboygan charm” over the time it has worked with the brand.
“So when it came time to casting some of them as judges, we already had a pretty hefty list just off the top of our heads,” he added. “We simply asked our favorites and went from there.”
And when it came to recruiting contestants, the Droga5 rep said they started with Johnsonville’s 150,000-member Enthusiast Club.
“However, we also wanted a get a good mix of characters from all around, so we spread casting to [Johnsonville’s] social channels, reached out to influencers and even brought back a certain Italian grandmother to compete,” he said. “We ended up with a nice range, including a cop, a celebrity chef and even a 13-year-old cook.”
And, as a result of a “long-term partnership with Bush's Beans,” the beans get a nice shout-out as well thanks to the aforementioned celebrity chef, Jeffrey Saad, host of the Cooking Channel series United Tastes of America.
Contestants are vying “for a chance to have their recipe live forever as one of Johnsonville’s official Game Day recipes.”
Recipes will be featured on SausageDome.com.
The first episode also includes multiple nods to Johnsonville’s Big Game Binder of recipes – “a real thing…[that] lives in the Johnsonville HQ” -- but it was unclear whether consumers have access to it or whether it’s an internal brand asset from which the winners can glean bragging rights.
The Sausage Six pick one winner per episode. Each winner receives a year’s worth of free sausage, which seems about right, doesn’t it?
Or, as Johnsonville put it, “The stakes have never been higher for a sausage-related competition.”
“While everyone is debating about what team will reign victorious this year, Johnsonville is focusing on making its sausage the most snacked-on snack at Big Game parties,” Droga5 said. “To do so, they couldn’t just push out any Game Day recipes; they had to bring their A-game. But how do you find the greatest sausage dishes of all time? An all-out sausage reality show, of course.”
The winning recipes will also be integrated into digital and print campaigns “to get the delicious word out,” Droga5 added.
The episodes will be available on YouTube, SausageDome.com and Roku.