Think power ballads and pork don't mix? Think again.
Johnsonville Sausage, the Wisconsin-based company that says it is the most popular brand of sausage in the U.S., has released a music video featuring the Johnsonville Brattender, a character it uses in summer months to educate consumers about grilling.
The video, which racked up 12,000 views in its first two days, features a song, "Don't Pierce the Brat," meant to hammer home the idea that consumers should not pierce the outer skin of bratwurst while grilling because it will release juices and leave the meat dry.
Modeled after an '80s power ballad, Johnsonville says "Don't Pierce the Brat" is a humorous parody "that brings this common grilling blunder to the forefront."
According to Johnsonville, the music video "captures the angst and passion true grilling experts feel when the cardinal rule of grilling brats isn't followed."
What's more, the Johnsonville Brattender, who Johnsonville rep Stephanie Dlugopolski says has "an irrational passion for brats," invites consumers to educate other grillers in an ultimate karaoke contest. Through August 30, fans can record and submit their own version of this so-called "summer anthem" for a chance to win $5,000 and free brats for a year.
According to Dlugopolski, bratwurst is finely ground pork with a unique spice blend. She also says the number of Johnsonville brats sold annually in the U.S. is enough to circle the equator once. (For the record, the earth's circumference is about 25,000 miles.)
"[Bratwurst] is the pork product that Johnsonville built its business from back in 1945," Dlugopolski says. "There's a great story of a customer ordering 40 pounds of burger and 20 pounds of brats one week, and one week later he comes in and orders 40 pounds of bratwurst and 20 pounds of hamburger."
In order to participate, consumers can download the "Don't Pierce the Brat" lyrics, karaoke music, and sheet music from the brand's Facebook page. There, they can also upload their own videos.
Johnsonville also has a sing-along version on YouTube.
Johnsonville says it is looking for style, creativity, and passion. A team from Johnsonville and advertising agency Cramer-Krasselt will judge.
No piercing is one of the rules the Brattender has always expressed and the brand "wanted to take it to a higher level and have some fun with it," Dlugopolski says. "The other part of it is using tools so consumers can have fun with it. It's really about just engaging with current fans and attracting additional fans and grilling enthusiasts."
As of Friday, the brand did not yet have any submissions, but was optimistic given viewership numbers.
In addition, on August 3, Dlugopolski says Sheboygan, Wisconsin is holding its annual Brat Days and Johnsonville will be on hand with a karaoke booth and props like a grill, tongs, and aprons to allow fans to create and submit their own videos on-site.
Johnsonville has 310,000 Facebook fans. Its grilling Twitter handle, @JvilleGrilling has 14,000 followers.
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Lisa Lacy is senior staff writer at ClickZ. In addition to ClickZ, her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.
March 19, 2014