It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Something unique. A story I will tell my grand-kids some day.
No, I wasn’t on the field for the Vikes/Packers game at Lambeau Field last week (Ouch, Lauren Fernandez).
I spent the afternoon hanging out in the Wienermobile.
And I’m not sure who enjoyed it more: My kids or me.
But, once I got past reliving my childhood memories, I started to think about what was really going on here.
A total brand experience.
“Dijon John” and “Torey Toppings” were my tour guides for the afternoon. Answering questions. Showing me the inner workings of the Wienermobile. And toting me around southeast Minneapolis in one of the most storied pieces of Americana. I even had a chance to have a conversation with them on camera:
For an hour we sat in the Wienermobile as kids and parents from around the neighborhood gawked, approached the vehicle, snapped pictures and grabbed their friends. It was like hanging with Elvis for an afternoon. And, the hotdoggers ate it up (pun intended). In fact, they encouraged and facilitated this behavior whenever they got the chance.
They were on the CB (one of my favorite Wienermobile features) making comments and asking questions of random passersby during our ride. They encouraged folks to take snapshots of the Wienermobile. And, they answered questions and opened up the vehicle to complete strangers.
They were, to put a fine point on it, the ultimate brand ambassadors.
And, not that it really matters, but keep in mind, they are both just out of college.
Why is that unique? Well, how many organizations do you know that entrust 22-year-olds to promote their brand night and day, 24/7, 365? Because make no mistake about it, that’s what these folks do.
John and Torey are two of 12 “hotdoggers” that travel the country with six different Wienermobiles (there’s even a mini-Wienermobile). They live on the road. Literally (you can track their whereabout using BrightKite). They interact with fans of all ages. And, they tell the Oscar Mayer story (they post on average a blog post a week). In fact, they damn near have their own language based on all sorts of hot dog-based puns and euphemisms. And, you see them injecting that personality in all their online forays–blog posts and Twitter, in particular.
John and Torey literally bring the Oscar Mayer brand to life each and every day. And, they love it. During my time with them, I heard them talk about making a sick kid’s day, connecting with other hotdoggers and life on the road. With every story, came a smile. With every anecdote, came an over-the-top and cheesy Wienermobile joke or pun.
And you know what? It works.
It’s brand activation at its finest.
The vehicle itself. The hotdoggers. The lingo. The horn (it plays the “I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener” jingle). Even their PR materials included the punny references (the vehicle is 18 hot dogs wide). It’s all part of the complete experience.
All, I can tell you, is after an hour in the Wienermobile with John and Torey, I’m an even bigger fan that I was before. And, as a brand, that’s all you can ask for. Win those fans…one at a time.
Note: For the more family-friendly side of this tale, visit our family blog (Hanging with the Hansons) for my wife’s side of the story.