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Creating Memories, a Building Block of Long-Term, Successful Brands

Published on February 24, 2022, at 9:52 p.m.
by Heather Smyth.

A short and catchy song can often get stuck replaying in one’s head, which can be annoying. On the flip side, a catchy song can be very successful when a brand wants to be recognized and remembered.

Brand equity is how consumers value a brand, whether they are likely to be new or returning customers. “Brand awareness comes with time,” explained Mike Little, senior instructor of advertising and public relations at The University of Alabama.

A company’s use of a jingle can leave a lasting impression because memories stem from hearing a familiar tune. In addition to audio recognition, visual and sentimental components of a brand’s message can evoke pleasant experiences. Little pointed out that continuous exposure to a brand strengthens its awareness.

In 1883, Oscar F. Mayer combined his butcher skills and retail experience to open the first Oscar Mayer shop. The company put a strong emphasis on “honesty, integrity and quality” of its products, as the brand was gaining popularity in the meat industry. Its messaging strategies developed into light-hearted and quirky ways to reflect Oscar Mayer’s brand identity. According to Little, it’s crucial for a brand to demonstrate that “what they’re saying rings true.”

Photo by Jessica Loaiza on Unsplash

During the Great Depression, the first Wienermobile was introduced. The company had made an investment to cheer people up through a promotional icon. This hotdog-shaped vehicle attracted crowds who were eager to see it in person, and it was a welcomed distraction during a tough time.

The Wienermobile delivers “miles of smiles” to everyone along the way. Today, there are six 27-foot-long, 11-foot-tall Oscar Mayer Wienermobiles traveling around the country. When spotted, everybody is eager to take a picture with one of them. The circulation of Wienermobile content across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and news outlets create a positive buzz. This publicity continues to reinforce the Oscar Mayer image with a new generation of followers.

In 1965, Oscar Mayer released a famous commercial featuring the Wiener Jingle. It only takes one time hearing the song to start humming the melody and associating it with hotdogs. The jingle can be played on a Wiener Whistle, which is a small souvenir handed out to visitors of the Wienermobile. People of all ages love to sing “cause if I were an Oscar Mayer wiener, everyone would be in love with me.” The desire for love is universal.

The drivers behind the Wienermobile wheel are extroverted brand ambassadors called Hotdoggers. This exclusive position was created to promote the brand in engaging ways, such as making appearances at parades, fundraisers and private events. They get to “meat” people through a traveling PR firm.

The Wienermobile makes annual visits to college campuses in hopes of recruiting its next class of eager graduates to embark on the journey of a Hotdogger. Current Hotdogger and University of Alabama graduate Brandon Mazzaferro is nicknamed Bun Man Bran. He enthusiastically endorses the Oscar Mayer brand and shares his adventures on Instagram.

“We try to connect with everyone and make them smile with something that’s really goofy,” Mazzaferro explained. “It really makes a big difference for people when they’re having a rough day. They just see a giant hotdog rolling down the street and they can smile at it.”

Photo by Ball Park Brand on Unsplash

The Hotdoggers strive to create memories with every engagement. People who are lucky enough to get a ride in the Wienermobile will learn about the passenger seat called the “shotbun,” be told to buckle their “meatbelts” and can even look up out of the “bunroof.” It’s also hard to miss the ketchup and mustard inspired flooring. Mazzaferro explained that the memory of these interactions lasts for a lifetime and establishes a positive impression of the brand.

Just like its start in 1936, the Wienermobile continues to cheer people up amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and be a recognizable image for Oscar Mayer. An iconic jingle, a popular product and a traveling Wienermobile have consistently created unique consumer memories, leading to the success and longevity of the Oscar Mayer brand.

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