As a ‘hotdogger’ for the Oscar Mayer Company, former Tiger Kelly Goldthorpe drives across Western and Midwestern America, spreading love and joy through wiener whistles, the Oscar Mayer jingle and Wienermobile sightings. Meet Kelly Goldthorpe, a recent School of Journalism graduate and this year’s driver of the Wienermobile.
HCM: Over a thousand people each year apply to drive the Wienermobile. How did you get the job?
Kelly Goldthorpe: Driving the Wienermobile is a yearlong opportunity open to college seniors the year after they graduate. Twelve people are hired to staff six Wienermobiles assigned to different regions of America. I heard about the job freshman year, and planned back then to apply my senior year. I’ve actually heard that it’s harder to get a job as a hotdogger than to get into Harvard.
HCM: What is life as a ‘hotdogger’ like?
KG: People love you because they love the Wienermobile. Wienermobiles have been around since 1936, and everyone has an “I remember when” story about the brand- everyone remembers, knows and loves the Wienermobile. Essentially, we’re making people happy all the time. In addition to promoting Oscar Mayer directly by handing out wiener whistles and singing the company’s jingle, there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work. My hotdogging partner and I pitch media, do media interviews, and figure out which hotels to sleep in. We also write press releases every week.
HCM: Was driving the Wienermobile difficult at first?
KG: A police department trains hotdoggers in how to drive the Wienermobile in “hotdog high”, a two-week program. It was strange at first, but became easier over time. Now, I have more difficulty driving my regular car!
HCM: Have you had any weird experiences?
KG: I have had some really fun experiences. I’ve met a few celebs. Once, I saw Bill Clinton from far away in Las Vegas. Another hotdogger team met Tori Spelling and visited her son’s birthday.
I was filmed in a commercial- you can’t see me, but I’m driving the featured Wienermobile.
HCM: Every Wienermobile has a vanity plate. What is your mobile’s?
KG: During the first half of my job in Western America, my mobile’s license plate was ‘OSCRMYR’. The Midwest’s mobile, which I’m driving right now, is ‘OURDOG’.
HCM: What are you plans after you finish this job?
KG: I’m ending my road trip in Athens, Georgia, and plan to get my master’s degree in marketing research at the University of Georgia.