Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Wienermobile Rolls On

contemporary  Wienermobile
Natalie pretends to eat the Wienermobile on the patio at Barney's Beanery 

I keep seeing Wienermobiles. No less than three times in the last six years has an Oscar Meyer Wienermobile crossed my eyeline. Twice I saw it moving through traffic like lunch on prime radials. Another time I saw it parked on the dock of a lake as I was traveling for a commercial shoot in Bakersfield. It was really strange. No one was visible inside or outside the vehicle. Just parked at a deserted lake -  perhaps they were preparing a commercial of their own. 

Regardless, I realize that it makes me happy when I see it. Don't know why, but I just feel slightly elated every time it drives on by - fulfilling its mission to imprint the image of its owners product on people's brains across the country. Sure it's an ad on wheels, but a brilliant one nonetheless. Well, I say keep on rollin', Wienermobile! 

Here's the scoop on the Wienermobile --

There are seven wienermobiles in existence currently, with each assigned a part of the country. The hotdogger position of driving the wienermobile is an open position to U.S. citzens and the duration of the job lasts for one full year: from the first of June until the following first of June. Every March at Kraft and Oscar Mayer headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin there are final round interviews held for the hotdogger position. Each vehicle holds two hotdoggers, and twelve people are chosen from a final pool of 30 candidates brought to Oscar Mayer headquarters. The 30 candidates are screened across the country from over an average of 2000 applicants. Both current hotdoggers and Oscar Mayer recruiters visit college campuses across the country in search of the next round of hotdoggers. Only college seniors who are about to graduate are eligible for applying to this hotdogger position. Currently there are about 500 hotdogger alumni who have served as hotdoggers and driven the wienermobile.
1936 - In 1936, Karl G. Mayer, nephew of Oscar Mayer, had a new idea to promote the company's products. A 13 foot long hot dog on wheels! Soon, the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile was seen driving through the streets of Chicago, promoting Oscar Mayer's "German Style Wieners." The cost was $5,000
the original Wienermobile
1950’s - Five new Wienermobile vehicles were designed by Gerstenslager of Wooster, Ohio. America was rockin' and rollin', so the new models not only looked cool, they featured a high-fidelity sound system.
Today, one of the five original 1950's Wienermobile vehicles is currently on display in Dearborn, Michigan, at the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village's popular Wienermobile Café.

50's era Wienermobile

1958 - In 1958, a new design took shape. Created by Brooks Stevens, who designed the classic 1950s automobile, the Excalibur, it would become the trademark look for three generations of Wienermobile vehicles. 
1969 - In 1969, two Wienermobile vehicles were designed and built by our very own Oscar Mayer mechanics at the company headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin. One was the first Wienermobile vehicle to tour a foreign country. This design was replicated in 1975 by Plastic Products of Milwaukee, and was fabricated with fiberglass and Styrofoam. 
1988 - In 1988, the Stevens Automotive Corporation of Milwaukee, Wisconsin created the world's first ten-frank fleet. The company founder, Brooks Stevens, also happened to be the designer behind the popular 1958 Wienermobile vehicle and the classic 1950s automobile, the Excalibur.
inside the Wienermobile
1995 - World-renowned automobile designer Harry Bradley updated the Wienermobile vehicle to become a shining example of 21st century style and technology. The 1995 model was the first Wienermobile constructed using CAD (computer aided design) imaging tools. It measured 27 ft. long, 11 ft. high, and weighed 10,500 pounds!
2000 - The 2000 Wienermobile was loaded with all the trimmings. Its GMC W-series chassis and 5700 Vortec engine made it the most powerful Wienermobile vehicle in the fleet. It measured 55 hot dogs long, 18 hot dogs wide and 25 hot dogs high (that's 27-ft. x 8-ft. x 11-ft.). 
various toys based on the Wienermobile
2004 - The 2004 Wienermobile vehicle is one sizzling hot dog with all the right fixings! This converted Chevrolet boasts a 4 speed / W4 series chassis and has a 6.0 liter 300 Vortec 5700 V8 engine that goes from zero to smile in seconds! Gull-wing door with automatic retractable step, voice-activated GPS Navigational System, mustard-splattered walkway, audio center complete with wireless microphone, blue sky ceiling art, mustard and ketchup colored seats, official "Oscar Mayer Wiener Jingle©" horn
2008 - Just over 15 feet long, this new Oscar Mayer “Mini” Wienermobile Vehicle is the cutest pick of the litter. Built on a Mini Cooper “S” chassis, this puppy really likes to run with the big dogs!
"Mini" Wienermobile
My own personal remote controlled Wienermobile 

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