A Paul Bunyan-esque Promo

  • May 20, 2008

No, they weren’t cooking up brontosaurus burgers at Chicago’s John Hancock Center on March 7. Rather, it was a giant bratwurst. Johnsonville Sausages set up a 30-foot grill, above which a 250-pound replica bratwurst hung.

The publicity stunt was created by Johnsonville Sausages to celebrate Daylight Saving Time (which means an extra hour of sunlight for grilling). Countdown clocks ran off the minutes until the gargantuan fake meat was lowered onto the faux grill, which was suitable for Paul Bunyan.

At noon, the 15-foot brat was lowered. Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo from the Food Network’s 2 Dudes Catering show, along with passersby, chanted “Drop the brat. Drop the brat.”

Once the brat hit, a loud sizzling sound could be heard throughout the surrounding blocks of metropolitan Chicago. A tuft of smoke was also released into the air. Apparently, the publicity stunt worked. About 1,100 brats were handed out, along with 25,000 Johnsonville coupons and a slew of T-shirts and other giveaways from radio partners WZZN-FM and ESPN Radio.

A “Daylight Savings Sweepstakes” at Johnsonville.com supported the effort. Lucky winners, through March 30, received one of 10 Weber grills, logoed barbeque tongs and a host of other prizes.

Apparently the installation looked a little too real to some. “I had to explain so many times during the permitting process that there was no actual grilling to be done on the grill. It’s a prop, people,” says Beth Gottlieb, national program director for Massivemedia, which helped create the event. “Chicago is a big grilling town … it’s great for sausage and steak.” And, it’s especially great for giant faux brats.

Giant Bratwurst