With that in mind, the company decided that being a source of frivolity during trying times is part of its DNA. So, this year, the Wienermobiles would roll on — with some changes.
By August, Ms. Swindall was hotdogging her way west. So far she’s visited Sioux Falls and Rapid City, S.D.; Topeka, Kan.; Amarillo and El Paso, Texas; and Flagstaff, Ariz., with her co-Hotdogger Spencer Bernhardt for company.
The delay gave enough time for the company to plot new routes, load up on personal protective equipment for drivers and visitors, create signage that encourages social distancing and add instruction to the Hot Dog High training program that would meet the moment, like how to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and how to complete daily wellness checks.
This year, the Hotdoggers are spending about two weeks in each place. They hope that staying in one spot longer will lessen the likelihood of potentially spreading the coronavirus; they tend to visit places with relatively low counts of coronavirus cases.
Actual Hotdogger job duties include sharing photos and videos on social media, answering questions about the brand and the vehicle (the most frequently asked question is if there’s a bathroom in the back, to which they respond, “No, it’s not a Weenie-bago”), and distributing swag.
While the Wienermobile isn’t stocked with actual hot dogs — a common misconception — its rear is full of promotional materials, including vanity license plates, key chains, lanyards, plush toys and Ryan Newman koozies (he’s the official NASCAR driver for Oscar Mayer). However, the most sought-after novelty item is the wiener whistle, a two-inch-long, four-note plastic kazoo replica of the weenie wagon.