Oscar Mayer hot dogs are an established icon of yore in America’s history. The terms used of hamburgers, hot dogs, and apple pie have been the mantra of food buffs as the United States grew into international fame with its acronyms of love for automobiles, cowboys, Hollywood, and anything glitzy. While the fascination of glitz and glamour burgeoned into so many homes via radio and later television, someone had already begun a company with little idea of what it would become.
THE OSCAR MAYER STORY IN PART
It all began in 1873 when a Bavarian, Oscar F. Mayer moved to America at age fourteen. He went to work at a butcher’s shop in Detroit, Michigan. Soon after, he moved to Chicago, Illinois where he entered the retail industry. By 1883, Oscar Mayer started his first retail meat shop where various meats were sold.
By 1906, Mr. Mayer joined a federal meat inspection organization, even though he was still just a small shop in the Chicago area, which helped his reputation. Obviously, Oscar Mayer was quality conscious early on. So, by 1919, he purchased his own small farmer’s co-op meat packing facility in Madison, Wisconsin, where he could ensure quality.
In 1929, Mayer created the first ever ‘branded’ meat label. This trademark became known as the ‘yellow band’. Consumers knew what they were buying was a quality meat product that could be trusted.
Please visit the website link above for the full, incredible history of Oscar Mayer and its entry into the stock market and beyond.
THE ORIGINATION OF THE OSCAR MAYER WIENERMOBILE
In 1936, during the height of the Great Depression, the wienermobile was built to tour in parades and grocery store openings. As the wienermobile toured, ‘Little Oscar’ was known as the driver. Since then, with only a nine-year stint of no wienermobile travels, a new vehicle was introduced for its 50th anniversary in 1986. The display and reception of the wienermobile was so successful, it was decided to build a total of six to tour the United States in 1988.
To date, six wienermobiles are operating in six different regions of America. These vehicles continue to appear at various community functions, especially at grocery stores, nationwide.
The vehicle timeline from 1936 to present is shown above. Interestingly, I remember the dabbling with color (Kodachrome) photography from the early 1960’s. By the 1970’s color photography and movies were in full swing.
THE OSCAR MAYER SONG
Although, there were a number of jingles for both radio and the television, I must digress to add my overall favorite that caused sounds of the jingle to reverberate through my cranium, sometimes late into the evening. There were those occasional dreams that ensued at the most interesting times during sleep, as well. Subliminal conditioning? I leave this up to the readers and viewers to decide.
Consequently, there were those unknown cravings for hot dogs at our Boy Scout events (and other events, too) that had to be wholeheartedly quenched, hurriedly. Then, there was a matching conditioning for a certain soda that had to be added to the dilemma. Of course, that is another story.
THE BEST BUY MARKET OUTING
Well, here comes the fun part. When I noticed that our community grocer, Best Buy Market was hosting the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile at our store, I was so elated, I was like a kid all over again. I just couldn’t find my Oscar Mayer hot dog whistle. Alas, it had fallen by the wayside so many years before. Then, it occurred to me, I could re-live part of my childhood, again! Wow! As mentioned, I was out the door in a flash with my camera and a degree of less wits a writer and journalist may possess.
Nonetheless, as shown in some photos above, I was in hot dog heaven as I pulled into the parking lot to view the spectacle. Truly, the inner child had emerged. I emerged with a childlike awe at the Wienermobile and its ‘Little Oscar’ drivers. Of course, that acronym has yielded to the latest terminology: Hotdoggers!
Amanda and Luke are the present Hotdoggers to pilot this spacious, opulent, and most impressive vehicle, the latest in the fleet of six, nationwide. Both of them were busy accommodating the visitors to the event. Chris of Best Buy Market was dispensing hot dogs (with all the trimmings for $1) at a booth next to the one Luke and Amanda attended. They were issuing various baubles, but there was one I was given where I just melted. It was my new Wiener Whistle! Yay!
I have kept the whistle in its original packaging, as I do with other valuable, iconic devices. Yes, it is yet to be whistled. This was one of the most iconic items in demand at the event. I must say that not only were Luke and Amanda congenial, they were having fun, as well, commiserating with the attendees.
With all the hub-bub of people milling about and enjoying the event, I tried not to be too intrusive, but my journalistic side convulsively took over. I mean, this is the event! How many times does something like this fall into place? It must be shared.
Therefore, when I saw my chance, I asked Amanda if she would consent to a short interview. Luke was beset with attending the booth and there were people there who wanted their whistles and more. Amanda said it was not a problem so she accented to walk with me to the back of the Wienermobile where it was more quiet. Here it is:
Even with my jittery camera use using a non-fixed video camera stance, Amanda and the customers were kind and accommodating. This was a very succinct, well-executed interview on Amanda’s part. I cannot say the same for the interviewer; however, it is a subjective judgement. I was just glad to be able to sit up and take nourishment on a well-stated history of what they do.
WRAPPING UP SO I DON’T ‘DOG IT’ ANY FURTHER
As Amanda mentioned, as well as, Luke told me, the puns and off-color comments abound! They are both on tour with degrees pending from their universities. What I find so incredible in meeting them both is how open, honest, vivacious, and congenial they are. I am not wont to bring up more personal details; however, I have a penchant for objectivity and telling it like it is.
Here is a company that started in the late 1800’s. Although, it was bought on an open market by major corporate concerns. it continues to expound on the basic precepts of the original vision of Oscar F. Mayer. It provides incredible opportunities for its employees while continuing a marketing concept that started in 1936.
MORE ABOUT OSCAR MAYER ‘HOTDOGGERS’
It is a small wonder why I do not reflect on a ‘Little Oscar’, driving the Wienermobile, but I am elated I have met a couple of positive, pro-marketing mind in Amanda and Luke. Our regular work-a-day world is better off for it. They are stanchions of what a much better world we can all enjoy. Just seeing the light of happiness in their eyes is worth it for me.
May these young entrepreneurs find all they have on their future plans. They surely have helped me further understand where a better world starts and continues. To note, Amanda and Luke are on a one-year tour. At the end of a six-month stint, they switch partners and continue in a new region.
After all, it is all about the human condition, would you not all agree?
HOW TO CONTACT THEM
These days, there are numerous ways to contact the Oscar Mayer team, et al. One may even follow the Hotdoggers while they continue their journeys promoting the concept of what the Wienermobile represents.
In addition to the web link mentioned above, here is the sign that was posted to engender a connection with what these Hotdoggers and others do. Here is the web link, again here. Don’t forget to download their Wienermobile app from the website!
FINALLY – BEST BUY MARKET
To all those wonderful people I know at my local and area grocery retailer, I cannot thank you enough for the opportunity to bring your marketing prowess to the public. I am honored and have had such an incredibly good time, this day. Thank you to the owners, principals, managers, and employees. You still bring a spark of caring and goodness to our community that is sorely needed in these time.
Fondest wishes to all concerned. To those of whom I have met and to all of whom I know.
Universal Digest is pleased to publish this iconic, historical article for our readers to enjoy. Sometimes, what happens in one’s own ‘back yard’ is as amazing the historical value of the organization itself.
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