Johnsonville has discovered a new canvas for promoting its array of breakfast products.
The sausage brand partnered with Toronto social media agency Matchstick on a Facebook-led campaign that uses the social media giant’s Canvas advertising unit—a full-page ad that also enables users to swipe through a carousel of images—to promote a variety of breakfast recipes featuring its products.
Jackie Hendricks, associate brand manager, international at Johnsonville, says that the collection of recipes, which include breakfast pizza, a sausage and egg bake and a holiday breakfast casserole, represent a “step up” from typical breakfast fare. All of the images link to a corresponding recipe on the Johnsonville website.
Hendricks says that Johnsonville has already built considerable equity around dinnertime thanks to its array of fresh sausage products, including Original Bratwurst and Fresh Italian.
However, the Wisconsin-based company also enjoys what she calls “nice competitive separation” in the breakfast space. “It’s not as crowded, so we’re kind of taking advantage of that,” she said.
The new Facebook program coincides with a time of the year when families are spending more time together and have more time for cooking. “On the weekends or those nice holiday meals, sausage can be a nice complement to eggs or other breakfast dishes,” she says.
It is part of a major social media push by Johnsonville, which has amassed nearly one million followers on its Facebook page and recently introduced its Instagram account as part of a content strategy that kicks off in earnest next year.
“Social is one of most important tactics,” says Hendricks, who says that recipe content on channels such as Facebook and Instagram has “exploded” in recent years. “It’s a really good way to build a community of very loyal and passionate fans, and it’s a really good vehicle for sharing content that people are looking for and are open to.”
Hendricks says that the new campaign speaks to a wide swathe of the population, reflecting Johnsonville’s broad-based appeal. “We’re about getting content on the platforms where people are, and Facebook and Twitter and Instagram are places where consumers across all demographics are going for recipe content. It makes them pay attention to us to.”
Social has also contributed to increased traffic for the Johnsonville Canada website, thanks in part to its partnership with celebrity chef – and Top Chef Canada and Chopped Canada judge – Mark McEwan, who regularly appears in spots and recipe videos for the brand.
Matchstick co-founder Patrick Thoburn said that Johnsonville’s passionate customer base, coupled with a food product that is a “social catalyst” both at backyard barbeques and around the dinner table, makes Johnsonville a brand “tailor-made” for social media.
Hendricks says that Johnsonville is immune to the post-holiday malaise that can impact some food categories, since sausage is regarded as a comfort food and also aligns with major eating occasions such as the Super Bowl (which she calls a “huge occasion” for the brand).
Johnsonville is also currently preparing a multi-faceted media campaign that will accompany some Canada-specific product launches in April. The company continues to see “really good performance” in the Canadian market says Hendricks, with increases in both brand awareness and brand equity. “It’s a very important market for us,” she says.