Oscar Mayer teams with Lyft to convert Wienermobile into ride-hailing vehicle

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Dive Brief:

  • Kraft Heinz’s Oscar Mayer brand is partnering with Lyft to bring its signature Wienermobile into the ride-hailing app’s fleet, according to an announcement.
  • Today (Aug. 25) through Aug. 27, certain Lyft users in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and Atlanta who order an XL ride will be picked up by the 27-foot hot dog car. The Wienermobiles are driven by two five-star-rated “Hotdoggers” and come decked out with music, neon lights, free shirts, hot dog masks and the Weenie Whistles made famous for summoning the vehicle in Oscar Mayer’s advertising.
  • Ride-hailing demand is starting to reach pre-pandemic levels, with more consumers stepping out for summer activities. Oscar Mayer continues to try and imbue its brand with a modern touch, with the Lyft tie-up following a larger refresh campaign in April that was developed with creative agency Johannes Leonardo.

Dive Insight:

Oscar Mayer is adding some pop to Lyft users’ next trips with the latest Wienermobile promotion. The packaged foods label has turned to the tech sector previously to give its iconic vehicle a coat of Silicon Valley cool. In 2019, it converted the wiener on wheels into an Airbnb listing near Chicago’s Lollapalooza music festival.

This year, Oscar Mayer is in the midst of an extensive overhaul as Kraft Heinz looks to revitalize a 138-year-old brand that has often struggled with the consumer shift to more natural and organic offerings. The “Keep it Oscar” campaign introduced in April includes a reworking of Oscar Mayer’s logo, packaging and assets like the Wienermobile to be more cohesive and modern. Pop-art style ads eschew traditional narrative storytelling in favor of oddball surrealism and short-form formats, including the marketer’s first five-second TV spots.

The Lyft partnership, which builds on that effort, arrives as hot dogs experience a run of bad PR. Findings from a new study widely circulated this week suggest that eating a single hot dog can shave up to 36 minutes off of one’s life, “largely due to the detrimental effect of processed meat.”

For Lyft, the tie-up comes as rider demand starts to return to normal levels, but pressures increase elsewhere. Ride-hailing companies are contending with driver shortages around the country, spurring price hikes and longer wait times and leading to increased user frustrations. Those pain points are intensifying just as consumers resume summer travel activities that were paused last year when COVID-19 vaccines weren’t widely available.

Like other packaged foods marketers, Kraft Heinz is looking to sustain a sales windfall that emerged as consumers started pantry-loading at the pandemic’s outset. The company has been investing more heavily in marketing and is now angling for greater media efficiency, including through a focus on internal agencies. Kraft Heinz now operates 12 in-house marketing units, according to executives.

“We are today achieving 30% more of our consumers with the same spend by doing better marketing. Not only better marketing, but also better media,” CEO Miguel Patricio said on a recent call discussing second-quarter earnings results.

“We have 12 of these internal hubs in different places covering more than 30 markets around the world,” Patricio added. “That is critical for marketing efficiency because it’s faster, better and much more creative, and we can really have marketing linked to the culture.”

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