Summer: Hot sidewalks, cool Slurpees from the 7-Eleven, and hot dogs. Memories of mustard, soft hot dog rolls, and sauerkraut. Hot dogs equaled fun—baseball games, summer nights at the swimming pool, and the rare view of the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile in our shopping center parking lot.
Americans love their hot dogs. According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, from Memorial Day until Labor Day aka “Hot Dog Season” seven billion hot dogs will be consumed in the USA. That’s 818 hot dogs eaten every second during that time frame! Most of them are consumed in July. Los Angeles, San Antonio, and New York lead the country in eating hot dogs.
From the Armour hot dog jingle to the 1965 animated cartoon selling the Oscar Mayer wiener, hot dog advertising has always been on the lighter side. Hot dogs were promoted as being “healthy” and boasted that they were made of “all meat” but that was before the world of nitrates brought this national food stuff into question. Perhaps the Hebrew National Uncle Sam ad which ran in the 1970s and touted an “all beef” alternative was the first time that the hallowed beef and pork mixture was brought into question. Grey Group (then Grey Advertising) in New York created the series of hot dog ads where the kosher hot dog category was born. “We answer to a higher authority” became a popular slogan associated with Hebrew National for years to come.
Fast forward to the era when most moms will not allow their kids to eat anything but all natural organic hot dogs with no nitrates, hormones, or fillers. Applegate is currently running three hilarious commercials that promote their healthier product. And consumption of chicken dogs or healthier alternatives now captures about 12 percent of the market.
But hot dog haters are also using the media effectively. “Hot dogs cause butt cancer” is the slogan of the latest campaign by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. They have erected billboards in some of the top hot dog consuming markets, and chose Chicago for one of their latest billboards since that area has one of the nation’s highest rates of colorectal cancer among men.
As we enter National Hot Dog month, take a moment to fire up the grill and put on a hot dog—whether it is an all meat, all pork, all beef, all organic, all turkey, all chicken or all soy. And don’t forget the mustard and sauerkraut!