CPG

One-on-One with an Oscar Mayer ‘Wienermobile’ Pilot

For Zach Chatham, marketing an iconic CPG brand is the blood
Zachary Chatham

Recent college graduate Zachary Chatham, who goes by the name “Zach n’ Cheese,” is a driver of the iconic Wienermobile, Kraft Heinz’ Oscar Mayer promotional vehicle.

Jon Springer: Welcome to the Breakroom, Zach. Everyone knows the Wienermobile resembles a hot dog on a bun. But what kind of car (make/model) is the Wienermobile built upon?

The Wienermobile is built on a vortec chassis and is able to truly haul buns across the hot dog highways! 

How does one get a job driving the Wienermobile? I understand it was a competitive process.

Yes, there were about 4,000 applicants for 12 “hotdogger” positions. Once we were selected as “lucky dogs” we sign a one-year contract to drive the Wienermobile until June 2021.

When I applied, I was a soon-to-be graduate from the University of Alabama with a degree in marketing and a minor in sales. The first wave of interviews was a phone screen interview and I think my biggest leg up was the fact my great-grandfather, Lon Baisden, drove the Wienermobile in the 1970s!

weinermobile great grandfather
Lon Baisden, Zach Chatham's great grandfather, proceeded him as a Wienermobile driver. Photo courtesy Zach Chatham

Once they actually spoke with me, I can only imagine they preferred me because of my experience building relationships with recruits working for the University of Alabama football team as well as my experience as a brand representative with companies on campus, such as Hooked Deals.

Overall, the company looks for candidates that are self-motivated, disciplined, organized and able to connect with people from all walks of life.

Kraft Heinz officials at a recent investor conference described a platform strategy designed to “energize” some of its iconic brands, including Oscar Mayer, investing to differentiate them through “renovation and revitalization.” How do you see your role in the overall business strategy for Kraft Heinz?

In the overall business strategy of Oscar Mayer, we are the biggest contributors to the consumer experience and marketing of the brand. Nothing is more important that a customer’s perception of the brand and we are able to build a positive image in the minds of consumers nationwide, resulting in sales.

What’s more difficult: Parking the Wienermobile or maneuvering to a pump in a crowded gas station? What kinda mileage does that thing get?

We get smiles per gallon, which runs on high octane mustard! Our bosses put us through an extensive training process driving the Wienermobile, so we are well versed in all driving aspects of the American icon.

You’re an MBA student at Southeastern Oklahoma State. What can you share about your future career ambitions? Would you like to stay in CPG/food?

I am currently working towards an MBA in marketing and I will ideally use that to work on the creative or branding marketing team for future companies once this job ends in June 2021. Whether that is in CPG or retail I will go where I feel the fit is best for me to grow as a marketing professional.

Where did you wake up today? And where is the Wienermobile headed next?

This morning (Oct. 23) we are in Bloomington, Ill. and we are headed to Itasca, Ill. and surrounding suburbs around Chicago from Oct. 29 to Nov. 9.

Lightning Round

Have you ever met Hal the Hot Dog GuyI have not, I wish I had though!

Is a hot dog a sandwich? You can do no wrong when you start with an Oscar Mayer Hot Dog!

Favorite NFL Team? Atlanta Falcons, closest team to my birthplace. Though, I try to hide that fact these days.

I’m serving you a hot dog. What condiments do you want on it? Chili, cheese and onions!

Last thing you purchased online? My fiance's birthday present!

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