Johnsonville has joined the annual pumpkin craze with a new fresh dinner sausage, part of a brand overhaul that includes a new logo and packaging featuring colour-coded labels for its six product categories.
Canada is the first of more than 30 countries in which the Wisconsin-based company operates—a group that includes China, Japan, Singapore and South Korea—to introduce the new packaging says Jackie Hendricks, associate brand manager, international for Johnsonville.
“Canada was just in the best position to go first, with the U.S. second, followed by the other international markets,” says Hendricks. The company plans to introduce the new packaging in all of its international markets within six to nine. “We’re just doing it in the easiest manner possible,” says Hendricks.
Hendricks says that Johnsonville was looking to make the more than 70-year-old brand more contemporary, while at the same time underscoring its family-owned heritage.
In addition to a fresh pumpkin-flavoured sausage (which will be available through the end of the year), Johnsonville has also introduced a pair of cocktail wiener products: Mini Smoked Sausages and Mini Cheddar Smoked Sausages, both of which are being sold in 225g packages.
The new on-pack logo replaces the previous image of small-town USA with that of the butcher shop where the company first began in 1945. Johnsonville has also added the words “Family owned since 1945” to its U.S. packaging, while packaging outside the U.S. features the message “Established 1945.”
Developed in association with Montreal agency Braque, the new packaging is being introduced across Johnsonville’s more than 20 product SKUs in Canada. It is the first major update to the brand since its Canadian debut nearly 16 years ago.
The new packaging is also colour-coded, with green representing the “Italiano” line of products, purple representing its “Country Style” dinner sausage line, and blue its “Pure Beef” line. The “Italiano” line also feature an image of chilli peppers (from one to four) to indicate how spicy each individual product is.
On-pack photography has also been updated to show each sausage as part of a prepared meal. “We wanted to show people interesting ways of using our sausage, so that when they saw smoked sausage, for example, they didn’t think ‘I have to put this in a bun,’ or ‘This is only for the barbeque,’” said Hendricks. “We wanted to show the different applications to try and increase the number of occasions they’re buying us for.”
Hendricks says that while Johnsonville makes significant investment in marketing like TV, recipe videos and print, packaging remains “so important” in driving overall sales.
“The reality is that the choice is happening at the store, and it’s driven by the things shoppers are seeing in the sticker price or end caps, things like that, so that is just as important to consider,” she says.