Johnsonville Celebrates Bratsgiving at Cub

The 2023 program included a sweepstakes and a life-size "Carl the Great Bratsgiver" cutout in stores.

Johnsonville ran a “Bratsgiving” sweepstakes at United Natural Foods’ Cub as part of the sausage brand’s annual summer campaign.

Shoppers could enter the sweepstakes from July 30 through Aug. 28 by posing in stores with a cutout of the made-up holiday’s mascot, “Carl the Great Bratsgiver,” and sharing it on Facebook. The winner received a tailgate package that included coupons for 12 packages of brats, a cornhole game and a firepit. The chain ran a similar sweepstakes in 2018.

“Cub specifically loves having the in-store engagement, so they really go big with the in-store activation highlighted with the life-size Carl cutouts for shoppers to snap a selfie with for a chance to win brat-themed prizes,” says Val Brasseur, Johnsonville national account manager. “Every year we have consumers reaching out to Johnsonville asking how they can get their own life-size cutouts. One year we ended up sending a couple to a nursing home for a celebration at their request.”

The cutouts appeared along with stanchion and header signs with QR codes linking to a promotional page within Johnsonville products were stocked in refrigerated endcaps and cooler displays alongside other products for backyard barbecues from brands such as Kraft Heinz Co.’s Heinz, King Arthur Baking’s Artisan Hearth and Clorox Co.’s Kingsford.

Cub used Facebook and Instagram posts to introduce the sweepstakes and promote a smoked sausage piggy sliders meal for four as part of the chain’s ongoing “Doable Dinner” platform. The recipe incorporates Johnsonville sausage along with SKUs from King’s Hawaiian, McIlhenny Co.’s Tabasco, Knouse Foods’ Musselman’s and Post Holdings’ Crystal Farms.

Bratsgiving has run every year since 2014, targeting consumers who would normally only purchase and eat brats for Memorial Day and Fourth of July celebrations.

“This program started as social media engagement only,” Brasseur says. “We saw the consumer engagement was very high, so the expansion began at the retailer level and has seen continued growth. Retailers love the Bratsgiving program. This window in August provides them ‘retailtainment’ in the store to engage the shoppers. It’s after the major summer holidays but before school starts.”

This year’s national campaign centered on a sweepstakes run in partnership with the W. C. Bradley Co. and Sprecher Brewery from Aug. 9-16. Consumers entered through a promotional website and could earn additional entries by engaging with the brands on Facebook or Instagram. Two winners received prize packages including brats, soda and grilling equipment from W.C. Bradley’s Tiki or Char-Broil.

Johnsonville supported the campaign with in-store signage, email blasts and digital activations.