Posted by: David Kiley on July 21, 2009
By Rob Strasberg
Strasberg is vice chairman and chief creative officer of Doner
Someone recently sent me the picture of a crashed Wienermobile in Wisconsin and it reminded me of my own experience driving it 18 years ago and how much a 22-foot-long wiener can teach you about marketing.
Lesson 1. I was a living, breathing brand 24/7 for an entire year. I was an Oscar Mayer Hotdogger. Who in their right mind would hand their billion dollar brand and an $80,000 motorized hot dog over to a 22-year-old right out of college? That was my first lesson - a brand is a big responsibility. Take it seriously (but not too seriously in my case – it is a Wienermobile), understand the brand, the voice, the identity, the company point of view – it was clear my collegiate toilet humor was not the brand voice.
Lesson 2. Everything is advertising. My partner and I were responsible for creating public relations, setting up events, speaking with press, working with the salespeople, talking to consumers and cooking over a grill (usually my most important duty). Our efforts consistently garnered more gross rating points than Oscar Mayer’s national ad buys and built strong field relations (ads rarely do that).
Lesson 3. Get along with your partner. A Wienermobile is not that big – make it work. Stay positive – no matter how many times your partner sings along to the Indigo Girls on the radio. Same in an agency: get along with your creative partner. When you’re young, you’ll create big ideas, and later, with your business partners, you’ll create even bigger ideas.
Lesson 4. It’s really easy to make a sexual pun, avoid them at all costs.
Lesson 5. Be prepared. Do your homework. Know your stuff. One wrong move and you could become a national joke.