Carl G. Mayer (Oscar’s son) was ahead of his time when he created an automobile shaped like a hot dog.

In 1936, there weren’t a whole lot of mobile, grassroots advertising campaigns, and there certainly weren’t very many cars shaped like things that aren’t cars. Heck, there weren’t very many cars in the first place.

 

Here’s our analysis of a few modern-day consumer-mobiles for you to chew on.

Wheat Thins – Last summer, Wheat Thins scoured the Twittersphere for their biggest fans, and delivered pallets of their salty cracker snack to them – by surprise. In a perfect marriage of social media monitoring and direct consumer engagement, Wheat Thins showcased their active involvement online and did something unexpected. And, in case you’re planning a copycat campaign, Ben and Jerry’s… AAAAAHHH! We’re out of Cake Batter. Our lives are officially over.

Dr. Pepper 10 – Ad Age recently reported that Dr. Pepper is launching a new soda with “10 bold tasting calories” targeted at men who are, apparently, afraid to drink diet drinks because it might undermine their masculinity. DP will be bringing their “mobile man-cave” to several test markets and setting it up in “testosterone zones” like ballparks and car shows. Based on the excessive use of quotation marks, you may be able to glean our suspicion of the general manly man concept, but starting at the source with a grassroots campaign isn’t such a bad idea. They’ll be reaching their target audience in packs and allowing them to experience the product first-hand. Soda choice is a habit well established by the time people reach their mid-twenties, and this is just the type of effort DP will have to make to break it.

Truth – The “truth” anti-smoking campaigns is probably one of the better social marketing endeavors out there. It does a pretty good job of attracting the attention of teenagers through multiple mediums and fresh micro campaigns – and we can’t think of a harder message to sell. One of their latest schemes is called truth On the Road, and it’s exactly what it sounds like – a truck drives around the country, throws a party and even holds a dance contest (posted online). Much like Wheat Thins, they’ve leveraged engagement with a small audience to appeal to their bigger one (on social media).

We know what you’re wondering – what’s the latest with the Wienermobile? Back in 2004, Oscar Mayer held a contest in which the winner won the Wienermobile for a day – an obvious success. The Wienermobile is also on Twitter, and in 2010, the Wienermobile was listed on Ebay, with the highest bidder getting to ride “shotbun” for a day.

We guess you can teach an old dog new tricks.

All of this is to say that if you’re trying to influence people and reach a niche audience, a mobile (as in moving, not phone) campaign is a great way to get publicity, give potential consumers a first-hand experience and use that experience to garner viral attention.

What are your favorite mobile campaigns? And do you want to be an Oscar Mayer wiener? That is what we’d truly like to be.