Times are changing. While you won’t see any obvious visual changes in the iconic Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, it’s technically the Wienermobile no longer. For the first time since the rolling hot dog hit the streets in 1936, it now goes by a new name. Folks, say hello to the Frankmobile.
Why the sudden name change after nearly a century of wienering about the world? According to the official press release from Oscar Mayer’s parent company Kraft Heinz, the Frankmobile rebrand coincides with a new recipe for its 100 percent Beef Franks, the official name for the company’s hot dogs. To mark this occasion, Wienermobile Frankmobile crews will hand out coupons for free hot dogs to anyone named Frank as the motorized mystery-meat machines make their annual tour.
“The Wienermobile is a beloved American icon that has been sparking smiles and driving craveability for our iconic delicious wieners for nearly 100 years,” said Stephanie Vance, associate brand manager for Oscar Mayer. “This summer, it’s time to highlight another fan-favorite: our delicious 100 percent Beef Franks.”
Of course, the elephant in the room is a phallic-shaped vehicle called wiener that drives around the country, often visiting family-themed events. It’s certainly all in good fun, and those who’ve seen the big hot dog in person generally never forget the experience. Oscar Mayer makes no mention of any other motivation for the name change besides the tie-in with its 100-percent Beef Franks. But it’s also no secret that times are changing, for better or worse.
The name change doesn’t stop with the Frankmobile, either. Small wiener whistles often given out by the staff are now Frank Whistles, and speaking of the staff, they’re no longer known as Hotdoggers. Going forward, they’re Frankfurters, which fans of the Rocky Horror Picture Show should absolutely love.
Oscar Mayer maintains a fleet of Frankmobiles, operated by Frankfurters (often college students nearing graduation) who spend a year as company ambassadors. It’s actually quite difficult to become a Frankfurter, with 12 people chosen from a field of approximately 7,000 applicants.
Whether the name change sticks or not remains to be seen. Considering the Wienermoblie branding existed for 87 years, we suspect it will endure as the unofficial name for years to come.