When Good Advertising Ideas Derail

July 18th, 2009 by Bob Bly

Oscar Mayer’s great innovation was to create a brand in a product category (hot dogs) in which no brands had previously existed.

Other marketing innovators to introduce branded products into categories that previously lacked brands include Frank Perdue (chicken) and Orville Redenbacher (popcorn).

Anyway, one of Oscar Mayer’s brand promotions is the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, a car modified to look ike a giant hot dog on wheels.

Last week, one of the drivers (there is a small fleet of Wienermobiles) had an accident — and crashed the giant frankfurter into a house, damaging the deck and garage.

This isn’t a brand-destroying tragedy, but when you put brand promises on the road, the potential for one exists.

The most famous took place in 1988, when a Domino’s Pizza delivery truck struck and killed two pedestrians while on its way to deliver a hot, fresh pizza — guaranteed to arrive in 30 minutes.

Allegedly, the incident drove Domino’s to drop the “30 minutes or it’s free” delivery from their brand USP.

P.S. Anyone interested in food marketing or hot dogs can read the full story of Oscar Mayer and other brand innovators in my book “All-American Frank: a History of the Hot Dog” available on www.amazon.com.

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