Ed Roland is currently hiring for one of the most coveted marketing positions in America, and if this recruitment is anything like the last time he advertised for the post, he expects to get 7,000 applications from all over the country. The ideal candidate will have excellent people skills and be comfortable with travel. Oh, and good highway etiquette is important, too.
After all, this job is staffing the Wienermobile.
“The responsibilities of the job are way more than driving a giant hot dog,” noted Roland, senior experiential marketing manager for Oscar Mayer, who’s been hiring “hotdoggers,” as the company calls them, for the past 16 years. “They’re a spokesperson for the brand. They’re basically running their own little PR firm on wheels.”
Of all the brands that have promotional vehicles plying the roads of America, none is more famous than the Wienermobile, a 27-foot-long motorized frankfurter that, in various incarnations, has been cruising the asphalt since 1936. (The company now has six rigs in its fleet.) But while the job might look like an easy gig, the post of hotdogger is a surprisingly demanding one.
For starters, if you have a family and a mortgage, you should probably just hold on to your resume. Hotdoggers—the company’s actually hiring 12 of them at the moment—will spend from June 2020 to June 2021 on the road. “You’re going every day for a whole year and living in hotels every night,” Roland said. “You have to adapt to that nomadic lifestyle.”
Roland also requires all hires to have a four-year college degree, ideally in communications or marketing. That’s because the driving part of the job pales in comparison to the strategy component.
Hotdoggers typically organize a whopping 1,200 community events in the course of their yearlong assignment (a little over three appearances a day, every day). They’re required to pitch local media before they enter a market. They make TV appearances and talk to reporters. They produce content for all of Oscar Mayer’s social media channels. And, of course, they interact with the public. A lot.
“You become a little celebrity,” Roland said. “It could take you 30 minutes to get gas because everybody wants to talk to you—and that’s every day of your life. You’re in the public eye. And being happy all the time isn’t always easy.”
And if you do somehow manage to master all of these skills, there is, finally, the driving bit.
While Roland insists the vehicle is “a lot easier to drive than you think,” one out-of-control Wienermobile did crash into a house near Milwaukee in 2009. Oscar Mayer corporate contracts with the same crew that trains the police department in Madison, Wis. Which is a probably a good idea, since these really are big wieners. The rigs are double the length of most four-door sedans, 8 feet wide and 11 feet high. The fiberglass beasts ride on a Chevrolet W4 truck chassis driven by a 300-horsepower V8 under the hood—er, bun.
So while hotdoggers will be taught to handle the Wienermobile safely, it’s impossible to handle it without anyone noticing. As Roland put it, “You don’t sneak into town in a 27-foot-long hot dog.”
For those who still think they have what it takes, the company is accepting applications until Jan. 31.