Johnsonville Taps Branded-Entertainment Shop Matrixx

Sausage Maker to Get Online Video Series to Promote Grilling

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LOS ANGELES (AdAge.com) -- It was the best of times; it was the wurst of times.

With Americans expected to scale back on the amount of steak they'll throw on the grill this summer, Johnsonville Sausage Co. has hired the Santa Monica, Calif.-based branded-entertainment production company Matrixx Pictures to ensure consumers add its bratwurst and Italian sausages to their grilling rotation.

Van Vandegrift, the executive producer at Matrixx -- and who also produced last year's A&E reality TV series "Gene Simmons: Family Jewels" -- said that in coming weeks Matrixx will launch an online social-networking initiative featuring user-generated videos of "grilling enthusiasts who are reaching out to other people" who may not yet share their brio for broiling brats.

Indeed, the Sheboygan Falls, Wisc.-based Johnsonville is already well-positioned to benefit from a branded-entertainment profile boost: Frost and Sullivan commodities analyst Christopher Shanahan noted that as early as last quarter, consumers had started trading-down to meats with a longer shelf-life.

"We're seeing movement towards the middle of the store, towards products that can stay in the fridge longer," he said.

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