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Johnsonville Sausage Kicks Off Grilling Season Early

By Mar 07, 2008

Johnsonville Sausage wants people to think now about summer grilling. To get them in the mood, it’s staging an event at the John Hancock Center in Chicago, where it was 34 degrees yesterday.

The event, which runs today from noon to 4 p.m., centers around a 30-foot mock barbecue grill. A 15-foot-long, 250-lb. replica of a Johnsonville Brats sausage hangs about 50 feet above the grill, suspended in the air with a crane.

The installation has been up for the past week to hype today’s event, said Ari Chasin, vice president of sales and marketing for Massivemedia, the media and marketing company that handled the build.

Countdown clocks have also been erected around the area to tick off the hours and minutes leading up to what Johnsonville arbitrarily considers to be the start of grilling season. At noon today, when the countdown clock strikes zero, the sausage prop will be lowered to the grill, which will sizzle and smoke.

Brand ambassadors will hand out samples of Johnsonville Sausage. Celebrity chefs, including Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolofrom Food Network’s “Two Dudes Catering” show, will also make appearances and assist with the sampling. In addition, 25,000 Johnsonville Sausage coupons will be handed out to people who visit the John Hancock Observatory, Chasin said.

The installation will remain up through the weekend.

“We thought it would have a lot of PR value,” Chasin said.

Beyond the build, Massivemedia was in charge of site logistics and site management. Campbell-Minthun oversaw the creative and Ogilvy PR handled PR.

In a separate promotion, visitors to http://www.johnsonville.com can enter for a chance to win one of 10 Weber Genesis E-3230 LP Gas Grills through March 30. Lesser prizes include a pair of Johnsonville-branded grilling tongs.

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