When unpredictable things happen to brands – or – who’s driving that Wienermobile?

Good marketing means keeping your eyes on the road ahead, not watching the world through the rearview mirror.  And a part of that is contingency planning — being prepared for the unexpected.  

The news story of an accident involving the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile is a perfect example.  In Wisconsin the Wienermobile went the wrong way and crashed into the garage of a house.  If a regular car had lurched in the wrong direction on a driveway it would be noticed only by the neighbors on the same block.  But when the Wienermobile does it, the whole world is watching.  

Now I personally  think that Oscar Mayer is a great brand.  It was founded by a real family.  It has been doing social marketing through Wienermobile appearances long before the phrase “social marketing” was penned.  

The picture below illustrates the consequences for a brand that is driving by looking in the rear view mirror.

 

AP Photo of Wienermobile crash

AP Photo of Wienermobile crash

 

 

This incident happened less than two weeks after Oscar Mayer himself passed away.  This Oscar Mayer was the great grandson of the original Oscar Mayer.  The Mayer family founded the Oscar Mayer company 3 generations ago, also in Wisconsin.  The website TMZ reports that Mr. Mayer did not want the Wienermobile to make an appearance at his funeral because it would be “too much of a spectacle.”

Which reminds me of an old Yiddish saying, “Man plans and God laughs”.

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