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Hire the Wienermobile as your chauffeur

Posted by Clifford Atiyeh  January 28, 2014 08:30 AM

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(Flickr/Selbe B)

The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile rests its bun in Portsmouth, N.H., in 2011.


For all the brain power it takes to summon a witty tweet, you could end up inside a 27-foot-long hot dog.

Oscar Mayer is holding a contest on Twitter that could take you and two friends on an epic drive in the most famous truck of all time, the Wienermobile. Write a tweet to @OscarMayer, label it #Tweet2Lease, and the mustard-laced vehicle could show up on your driveway. The contest ends on Feb. 7.

You won't get to drive it -- during a 2004 contest, at least one lucky person did -- but you can relax and order a young chauffeur to drive you anywhere you want for eight hours. Since 1988, Oscar Mayer has run a "Hotdogger" program for 20-something college grads, who tour the country to promote sausage for an entire year. Needless to say, Oscar Mayer hasn't had trouble filling the seats, and one of these 12 expert drivers -- be it the lovely Pigs in a Blan-Kate or the handsome Mike Bologna -- will meat you (darn it, meet you) wherever you choose. The hot dog puns could go on forever, and since you know how quickly this can turn inappropriate, let's move on.

Tom Bick, Oscar Mayer's senior advertising director, told Ad Age that the company wasn't using the Wienermobile enough (this, despite one of six Wienermobiles in service year-round, one of which landed at a Stop & Shop on Sunday in Hamden, Conn.). They are also, apparently, as iconic as the Budweiser horses.

"I don't think we've been leveraging them enough," said Bick. "So we've been trying to bring them into the fold a little bit more in our advertising in our everyday marketing and advertising efforts. These are such strong, iconic images for us. They are the equivalent of our Clydesdales."

The contest promotion, which kicked off with a teaser shot from Motor Trend, plays out as slickly as the latest new car ad. It's billed as a one-day "lease," although no money, not even the cost of a six-pack of franks, is needed. The video "introducing the 2014 Wienermobile" is genius.

Strangely enough, there are no open grills inside the Wienermobile, and the drivers hand out whistles shaped like the truck instead of real hot dogs. The latest Wienermobile has four red and yellow seats and a floor that looks like somebody spilled mustard all over it, plus a blue sky roof and a hot dog glove compartment. Various models have been around since 1936, with a Mini Cooper Wienermobile as the most recent addition to the fleet.

Both the L.L. Bean Bootmobile and the Wienermobile visited Boston last fall, when its cunning driver somehow found a big enough parking space in Allston. But the Wienermobile's best Boston moment had to be in 1997 when it halted traffic on Storrow Drive. The driver, fearing one of the route's low bridges would slice the top of his sausage, played it safe. Tell your professional Wienermobile driver, if you're lucky enough to win one, to take Comm Ave instead.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
In the garage: 1995 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (by association)
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