That Moment When a Brand Really Touches You… the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile

Recently, my wife and I were driving in central New York State and passed a Wienermobile on the highway. We smiled and gave the “Hotdogger” a thumbs up. But at that moment, I felt a stronger connection to the Oscar Mayer brand than ever before. No wonder, it was a significant “brand touch point” moment.

The first Wienermobile was introduced in 1936 by Carl Mayer, the nephew of Oscar, and has continued until today, with a brief interruption during WW II when there was a shortage of gas. Then, the drivers were called “Little Oscars“, and visited schools, hospitals and communities all across the USA. In 1988, Oscar Mayer launched a “Hotdogger” program for college seniors, who would become drivers after graduation. Today, there are thousands of applicants for the position to drive seven Wienermobiles scattered across the US. Click here for a tour of a Wienermobile.

The reaction my wife and I had was amazing. It was a moment of connection that simply cannot be replicated with advertisements. Not only did we smile and wave, but talked about Oscar Mayer hot dogs for quite a bit afterwards. And guess what… we bought that brand a few days later.

Great brands know their critical touch points. These are times or occasions where a consumer interaction with a brand has more meaning. Where a true brand connection occurs. These emotional connections are often the defining moments of a brand. They actualize a wide range of other communications and brand experiences. But in that moment, they pull it together experientially.

In today’s disconnected world, often customer service is a also a very important touch point. That’s because a brand is tested when it breaks or presents a consumer problem. How a brand reacts, meaning how a customer support person responds, can often have more value than other marketing spend areas. Another meaningful touch point can be product sampling. Sure it is about how the product tastes or feels. But it is also about the willingness of a brand to expose itself to consumer scrutiny.

What smart marketers should think more about is how to prioritize their brands’ touch points so they can invest in those that really touch the hearts and minds of their consumers. This not only reduces wasted expenditures, but also bonds a brand to its key audience much more meaningfully.

And yes, I like mustard and relish on my Oscar Mayer hot dogs.