published Saturday, July 28th, 2012

Wienermobile brings smiles, memories during stops in region (with video)

Lexie Conn exits the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile at the Tennessee Baptist Children's Home.
Lexie Conn exits the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile at the Tennessee Baptist Children's Home.
Photo by Angela Lewis.
Wienermobile stops in Chattanooga
The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile stopped in Chattanooga on Friday during the annual Kiwanis Club Barbecue hosted at the Tennessee Baptist Children's Home. The Wienermobile will be making stops in Cleveland, Tenn., today and Dalton, Ga., on Sunday.

Ten-year-old twins Lexie and Thomas Conn look like they could barely manage to handle a foot-long hot dog.

But when they encountered the 27-foot-long Oscar Mayer Wienermobile Friday morning, they each wanted one of their own.

"It's not like a usual van," Lexie said as she gazed around the converted Chevrolet's interior. "I don't know how to drive, though."

The Wienermobile's drivers were handing out wiener whistles and taking photos at the Tennessee Baptist Children's Home Friday as part of Oscar Mayer's year-round marketing stunt. The giant hot dog cruising the streets of Tennessee is one of six across the nation.

"It's mostly about making connections with families," said Anggela Pimentel, one of 12 "Hotdoggers" traveling the country in Wienermobiles. "It's the best job a college grad can have."

Every year since 1987, Oscar Mayer has hired recent college graduates to cruise the country for a year to promote the brand.

Pimentel said her job is "bunderful," and called it a "franktastic" experience. She plans to "relish" this year before heading into a career in public relations and marketing.

"What other job can you make hot dog puns all day?" she asked. "I think that's what makes us love our jobs."

A day in the life of a Hotdogger isn't easy. Over the course of a week, a Wienermobile will make an eight-hour road trip to a metropolitan area, then spend the rest of the week traveling that area, promoting the brand.

Oscar Mayer already made a lifetime hot dog eater out of Lexie. She and her family went camping a few weeks back. She gets excited when she talks about the campfire, marshmallows and, of course, hot dogs.

"It was raw," she said. "I cooked it half way in the fire then ate it."

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