There's at least one L.A. company that has more than a passing interest in whether a struggling Manny Ramirez can power the Dodgers to victory in the Fall Classic.

It's Farmer John, the local meat packer that grinds out millions of Dodger Dogs each season.

Farmer John has launched its first television commercials in 10 years featuring the famous footlong wieners. The ads are running on local sports shows through early November.

The ads mix humor and nostalgia, depicting satisfied fans devouring hot dogs at a game and then reminding viewers that they can buy the same dogs at the supermarket. The campaign was based on market research indicating Angelenos associate the Farmer John brand with feel-good memories going back to childhood.

"The message by association is that the great taste you remember from the ballgame can be yours at home," said Richard Zien, chief executive at West L.A. advertising agency Mendelsohn Zien, which created the commercials. "That's something none of our competitors can duplicate."

But what if the Dodgers blow it and exit the postseason early?

Farmer John is taking no chances. It has other spots ready to go that associate its dogs with other venues and sports. Farmer John also is the official dog of the Staples Center, Rose Bowl, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and Home Depot Center.

"The campaign is not centered exclusively on baseball, but obviously right now baseball and the Dodgers are very top of mind," said Jeff Frank, vice president of marketing at Farmer John, which was acquired by Hormel Foods Corp. in 2004.

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