When I first heard that Sun’s Datacenter in a Box was slated to go on a tour of the USA, the first thing that came to mind was naturally the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile. Sun shouldn’t take this as a slight though, I think it’s a brilliant move, and I tip my hat to them as a competitor (we sell used Sun servers). Anyhow, in looking into this, I discovered there is a whole world of these product themed cars.
Here is our List of 11 Traveling Product-mobiles, starting with the legend.
1) Oscar Meyer’s Wienermobile
(The Grand-Daddy of product-mobiles)
Created in Chicago in 1936 to promote Meyer’s wieners, the giant hot-dog on wheels still visits the grocery stores, parades and state fairs of the nation. Six vehicles reportedly travel during the summer hosting 12 lucky college kids. Out of over 1000 applicants only these fortunate few get to attend “Hot Dog High” in Madison, WI and embark on a sticky summer promoting processed meat. “No one can really relate to life on the road besides other hotdoggers,” stated Michelle Norton, an alum.
If you can’t catch the wiener-mobile in your town, take a virtual tour at Kraft’s website instead.
2) Sun’s Datacenter in a Box
(aka “Project Blackbox,” aka “Sun’s DataCenterMobile”)
In a brilliant marketing move, Sun Microsystems took the natural next step with their buzz-grabbing product by taking Project Blackbox on the road. The DataCenter in the Box has been criticized as being more of an attention-grabbing vehicle than a viable product, so why not make it a real vehicle and take it on a road show? (Despite the barbs thrown Sun’s way, I admire their bold innovation and believe it helps the entire Sun market.)
The self-contained datacenter is actually only part of a vehicle, being connected to the back of a semi-trailer, but it serves the same purpose. And you know what, I’ll definitely try to get a look at it when it stops in Minneapolis for two days in March.
3) The Peeps-Mobile
(The Peeps Fun Bus)
Peeps are scary enough in your easter basket, (What is their shelf life… 20 years? 50 years? Would they survive nuclear fallout?) but a giant Peeps “fun” bus is absolutely terrifying.
4) The Hershey’s Kiss-Mobile
(Gene Simmons not included)
Created in 1997 to celebrate the 90th birthday of Hershey’s kisses. Hershey’s dubbed it “America’s sweetest ride” which is clever in the kind of way that makes me wince typing it. Their Sweetest Mom Contest is a much more palatable promo. Mom’s deserve plenty of sweetness after all. Tour schedule here (alas, no Minnesota stop).
5) The Pep-O-Mint Lifesavers Truck
(The original fresh-maker)
The earliest product-mobile we could find, having been mounted on a truck in 1918. Sadly, we couldn’t find photo documentation, but picture this giant lifesaver above (on display in Gouverneur, NY) on top of an old-time truck and you’ll get the picture.
6) The Meow Mix Mobile
(Catmobile delivers Meows on Wheels)
The Meow Mix Mobile actually serves a very worthy cause. It stops to visit cat owners around the US who have difficulty traveling to the store to purchase food for their cats on their own (homebound, elderly and disabled cat owners) through it’s Meows on Wheels program. Or is this really a secret way to discover cat hoarders?
7) The Heinz Pickle-Mobile
(not actual picture)
We couldn’t find a photo of this one either, but Johnny McGuire’s delivery-wagon is a very worthy substitute.
8) Mr. Peanut’s Hot Rod
(Plantar’s Nascar Peanutmobile)
Planters is “The Official Snack of Nascar,” but we can’t quite see the monacle catching on with the racing crowd.
(“Miles of Smiles” from Pepperidge Farms)
Take a goldfish, add giant sunglasses and drive it around the country. Brilliant!
A traveling cerealmobile featuring Kellogg’s all-stars. This one feals more like a parade float, but who doesn’t love cereal?
11) The SpamMobile
(The “Spambassador” from Austin has the floor)
Last but not least, straight outta Austin, MN, is the appropriately boxy Spam-mobile. It is forged from a trolley car shell and piloted by elite “Spambassadors.” The Spam bus is on the road now so check the schedule to connect with Spam in the place that you are.
Interested in a product-mobile of your very own?
(Who builds something like that?)
Prototype Source does… Not only building prototypes for Volkswagen and GM, this cool Santa Barbara company has found a great niche designing and building product-mobiles for a wide variety of clients.
One parting note… Al Unser Jr. once drove the Wienermobile around the Indianapolis Speedway at over 100 miles per hour. Mr. Schwartz, you’ve officially been challenged.