Long Live the Wienermobile: Oscar Mayer Ditching Frankmobile Name

Chris Teague
by Chris Teague

Change is inevitable and can be a great thing for business growth. Even so, making significant changes without considering their impact can break more than it fixes, which is how Oscar Mayer ended up where it is today. The iconic wiener brand recently – as in, just four months ago – announced that it was changing the name of its most recognizable marketing tool but is now rolling that decision back

Back in May, Oscar Mayer announced that the Wienermobile name, which it had used since the mid-1930s, was changing to Frankmobile. The internet accepted the news with zero complaints, and no one had anything negative to say at all. Except, that wasn’t what happened. The blowback was immediate and fierce, and just four months later, Oscar Mayer’s walking back that decision, saying on social media, “It’s been a franktastic summer! But like you, we missed this BUNderful icon. Help us welcome back the Wienermobile!”

The Wienermobile has seen several revisions over the years, but its basic look has been around for decades. In the late 1970s, Oscar Mayer retired its fleet from service but brought the vehicles back a decade later after seeing the public’s extreme excitement. The company built a new fleet of six 23-foot-long fiberglass Wienermobiles in the late 1980s, which toured the United States and part of Europe and Asia. 

[Image: Aaron of L.A. Photography via Shutterstock]

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Chris Teague
Chris Teague

Chris grew up in, under, and around cars, but took the long way around to becoming an automotive writer. After a career in technology consulting and a trip through business school, Chris began writing about the automotive industry as a way to reconnect with his passion and get behind the wheel of a new car every week. He focuses on taking complex industry stories and making them digestible by any reader. Just don’t expect him to stay away from high-mileage Porsches.

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6 of 26 comments
  • Dartman Dartman on Sep 29, 2023

    It was all a scam just to gin up some free publicity. It worked. Tassos go back to sleep; no ones on your lawn. Real ‘murricans prefer hot dogs to gyros.

  • Tassos Tassos on Sep 30, 2023

    BTW I thought this silly thing was always called the "Wienermobile".

  • Tassos Tassos on Sep 30, 2023

    Every week when I do my shopping and wait for the cashier, I always look at what the customers in front of me bought, and the nutritional illiteracy of the buyers always astounds me.

    Perhaps the most extreme were, surprisingly, two women, maybe in their 30s, none attractive in the least, one morbidly obese (and the other probably her social worker or nurse), who bought a very balanced combination of about 20 huge bags of potato chips and about 20 16 oz packs of franks, and nothing else.

    When I returned home I described the above to my girlfriend. "Perhaps they were having a party" she said. Yeah, right. More like a wake is coming up for them, very prematurely.

  • Vulpine Vulpine on Sep 30, 2023

    The issue is really stupidly simple; both names can be taken the wrong way by those who enjoy abusing language. Implying a certain piece of anatomy is a sign of juvenile idiocy which is what triggered the original name-change. The problem was not caused by the company but rather by those who continuously ridiculed the original name for the purpose of VERY low-brow humor.