(First in an occasional series of free, and possibly bad, brand advice.)
Why Oscar Mayer isn't tweeting provocative photos of their wieners this week is beyond me. We're in the hot, juicy middle of Hot Dog season... in fact, Friday was National Hot Dog Day. The iconic Wienermobile is on its 75th anniversary tour. And New York's tubesteak-tweeting Anthony Wiener is running for mayor! It's the perfect storm--the ideal moment for Oscar Mayer to humorously remind the world about their giggly-named product.
And yet: nothing.
I know, I know: Oscar Mayer Wieners are a family product, and owner Kraft Foods is a family company. Social media managers are no doubt battling against the usual tut-tutting from dusty suits further up the hierarchy, paid to worry about managing risk, not to capitalize on divinely ordained karmic opportunity.
But let's face it, the hilarious-to-kids name is a big part of the appeal of this particular brand of casing-bagged meat paste. Nobody would wish they were an Oscar Mayer Bratwurst. Wieners are about fun, period--you might say that social media was made for wieners.
On other fronts, Oscar Mayer appears to be doing it right. They're delishifying their product line with baked-in bacon dogs. They're improving their animal welfare record. The tasty little nitrite cigars are even (albeit slowly) getting healthier. Yet they're falling behind... and the clock is ticking. We chow down on twenty billion hot dogs a year, now, and in 2010, Ball Park Franks took over the top spot in sales. That's right: Oscar Mayer is no longer America's number one weenie. A social media campaign tying hot dogs to the summer's most enduring pun could boost awareness within the critical snickering juvenile delinquent demo.
So here's what Oscar Mayer should do. Invite fans to create their perfect wiener, and tweet a photo of it on their lap, like the iconic Anthony Wiener junkshot. Mine would have chili, blue cheese, jalapenos, two strips of bacon on the sides, and a cherry pepper on top, banana-split style. And I have at least a dozen friends who would submit too, especially if you could win a Prius full of hot dogs, or use of the Wienermobile to commute to work, or something.
The modern digital brandscape is not a place to be shy... fortune favors the bold and subversive. A confluence of controversy like Wienergate happens once (or in this case, twice) in a lifetime. So Oscar Mayer, own the weenie, for as long as this lasts. Invite them to check out your package. Tell them you're scandalously delicious. People will chuckle, and pass it along.
Just a thought.