Thursday, July 3, 2014
Wienermobile history for the Fourth of July
Actually, it might be the parents of those who receive the Wienerwhistles who are tortured.
At any rate, the Wienermobile is easily the most recognized promotional vehicle ever hit America's highways. And since it's the Fourth of July, a holiday that revolves around the consumption of hot dogs, I thought it would be a good idea to look back at the history of this iconic rolling billboard.
The Wienermobile came back in 1952, when Gerstenslager of Wooster, Ohio, designed a fleet of five. These were quite a bit bigger than the originals, and built on Dodge truck chassis.
The program returned in 1988 with an all-new Wienermobile, and it was replaced and upgraded in 1995, 1996, 2000, and the current version in 2004.
Wienermobiles are usually operated by “Hotdoggers.” Typically these are recent college graduates gaining some promotional experience with a highly visible (figuratively and literally) display.
My favorite was the 1/25th-scale promotional model that came out in 1954. It had a friction motor similar to other promo cars of the day, and was sold in toy stores around Chicago, Ill., and Madison, Wis. They had a little “Bobbing Oscar” that would pop in and out of the top. Later versions of this model had a coin bank slot where Oscar used to pop out.
I would like to thank Noelle Overly with Oscar Mayer for providing me with several of the photos and Wienermobile facts for this article. I don’t know if I’ve ever gotten this much information this easily for a story before.
Take a look through the slideshow below for an historic trip through Wienermobile history, or click this link for a nicer version. Happy Fourth of July!