The first Wienermobile was created by Oscar Mayer's nephew, Carl G. Mayer, in 1936.
Wienermobiles are in current use by the Oscar Mayer company. Wienermobile drivers are known as Hotdoggers. Hotdoggers often hand out toy whistles, called Wienerwhistles, which are shaped like a Wienermobile.
The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile has evolved from Carl Mayer's original 1936 vehicle to the vehicles seen on the road today. Although fuel rationing kept the Wienermobile off the road during World War II, in the 1950s Oscar Mayer and the Gerstenslager Company created several new vehicles using a Dodge chassis or a Willys Jeep chassis. One of these models is on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. These Wienermobiles were piloted by "Little Oscar" (portrayed by George Molchan) who would visit stores, schools, orphanages, and children's hospitals and participate in parades and festivals.
In 1969, new Wienermobiles were built on a Chevrolet motor home chassis and featured Ford Thunderbird taillights. The 1969 vehicle was the first Wienermobile to travel outside the United States. In 1976 Plastic Products, Inc., built a fiberglass and styrofoam model, again on a Chevrolet motor home chassis.
In 1988, Oscar Mayer had a fleet of six Wienermobiles built by noted industrial designer Brooks Stevens using converted Chevrolet van chassis.
The 1995 version had the Wienermobile grow in size to 27 feet (8.2 m) long and 11 feet (3.4 m) high. The 2004 version of the Wienermobile includes a voice-activated GPS navigation device, an audio center with a wireless microphone, a horn that plays the Wiener Jingle in 21 different genres from Cajun to Rap to Bossa Nova, according to American Eats, and sports fourth generation Pontiac Firebird taillights.
Following mechanical problems with the Isuzu Elf, Oscar Mayer decided to adopt a larger chassis to accommodate an increase in the size of the signature wiener running through the middle. While the Wienermobile was not as long as the 1995 version, it was considerably wider and taller. Craftsmen Industries went through numerous overhauls of the truck including a flipped axle and a leveling kit. This version held a record for numerous suspension problems, most leading to the chassis not being able to hold the large weight of the Oscar Mayer Wiener.
In 2004, Oscar Mayer announced a contest whereby customers could win the right to use the Wienermobile for a day. Within a month, the contest had generated over 15,000 entries.
In June 2017 the company introduced several new hot-dog-themed vehicles, including the WienerCycle, WienerRover and WienerDrone.
Source: Oscar Mayer
The driver of a Wienermobile is called The Hotdogger. The Hotdogger job is to "meat" and greet people around the country. The Hotdogger's duties include "sharing photos and videos on social media, answering questions about the brand and the vehicle (the most frequently asked question is if there’s a bathroom in the back, to which they respond, “No, it’s not a Weenie-bago”), and distributing swag".
Only college seniors who are about to graduate are eligible to be Hotdoggers. Applicants should have a BA or BS, preferably in public relations, journalism, communications, advertising, or marketing.
A Hotdogger's assignment is for only one year. Recruiting for each year's new Hotdogger cadre involves current Hotdoggers and Oscar Mayer recruiters visiting college campuses across the country. In 2018, 7,000 people applied to be a Hotdoggers. As each Wienermobile carries two Hotdoggers, only 12 Hotdoggers are selected each year.
In June 2007, a Wienermobile with the Wisconsin license plate of YUMMY made headlines after being stopped by an Arizona Department of Public Safety officer for having an allegedly stolen license plate. Officer K. Lankow had observed the Wienermobile slowing traffic and checked the license plate to determine if the vehicle was street legal. The license plate came back as being stolen out of Columbia, Missouri, so the officer stopped the Wienermobile and detained the driver. Oscar Mayer had not notified police that they had obtained a replacement plate after the previous one was stolen and that it should be considered stolen only if not on a Wienermobile. The Wienermobile was released soon after the error was discovered.
On July 17, 2009, a Wienermobile on a cul-de-sac in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, was attempting to turn around in a residential driveway. The driver accidentally accelerated forward while thinking the vehicle was in reverse, which lodged the Wienermobile under a house and destroyed its deck.
On Sunday, January 26, 2020, a Wienermobile was pulled over by a Waukesha WI sheriff's deputy for violating the Move Over Law, which requires motorists to pull over one lane to pass an emergency vehicle with its warning lights on. The Hotdogger was issued a warning.
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Berg, Bailey (October 20, 2020). "Six Enormous Hot-Dog-Shaped Vehicles Travel America, Spreading Only Brand Awareness and Joy". The New York Times. Retrieved October 20, 2020.
A pandemic cannot stop either marketing or human emotions
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Noennig, Jordyn (January 6, 2020). "Want to get paid to travel? Oscar Mayer is looking for 12 people to drive the Wienermobile cross country". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved October 20, 2020.
If you've ever dreamed of seeing the country through the windshield of a 27-foot hot dog on wheels, this might be your #dreamjob.
- "Be A Hotdogger - Recruitment Brochure for Wienermobile Spokesperson - Hotdogger - Official Job Description Handout" (PDF). Oscar Meyer. Retrieved October 20, 2020.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Wienermobile.|
- Wienermobile Instagram
- Road Trip America Wienermobile article
- Jon Stewart Wienermobile story
- Barry. Dave. "Wienermobile". Archived from the original on 2012-02-27.
- Curbside Wienermobile Review by Tony Barthel
- You Must Be A Hotdogger To Drive The Wienermobile Video produced by Wisconsin Public Television