Oscar Mayer officially declares hot dogs are sandwiches, opens hotline for feedback
- Oscar Mayer is celebrating National Sandwich Day on Nov. 3 by breaking its silence on the highly debated question, "Is a hot dog a sandwich?" The brand is taking the official position that hot dogs are indeed sandwiches, per news shared with Marketing Dive, and also opening up a hotline at 1-833-SNDWICH for fans to either change its mind or share their general thoughts about the statement.
- Tyson Foods-owned Jimmy Dean is also celebrating National Sandwich Day, asking consumers to sign a petition to update the definition of the word "sandwich" to include breadless options, according to a news release. Merriam-Webster.com currently defines a sandwich as "two or more slices of bread or a split roll having a filling in between."
- The push promotes Jimmy Dean's launch of a new breadless sandwich offering, the Jimmy Dean Delights Egg'wich, which features breakfast sausage and cheese between two egg frittatas.
Brands typically seize on made-up food holidays as a means to spark social media conversation and engagement, with National Sandwich Day being no exception this year. Oscar Mayer is using the opportunity to riff on the "is a hot dog a sandwich" debate that has occasionally flared up as a trending topic online and often brings out strong opinions in people.
Hot dog purists will likely not be shy about sharing their thoughts via the #changeOscarsmind hashtag or phone hotline, a vintage marketing tactic that's cropped up a few times recently. For Valentine's Day, Wingstop debuted a hotline to offer romantic tips, a vocal warm-up routine, wing presentation advice and a holiday mixtape.
Hot dogs are a core part of Oscar Mayer's business and branding, including through long-standing fixtures like the marketer's Wienermobile. However, the company has in recent years struggled with the consumer shift toward healthier, more natural and less processed foods. Oscar Mayer switched up its hot dog recipe in 2017 by removing nitrates and nitrites, artificial preservatives and by-products from the meat. Parent company Kraft Heinz at the time doubled the brand's marketing budget to support the push for awareness around its better-for-you hot dogs.
Similarly, Jimmy Dean calling for a more inclusive definition of the sandwich and introducing a breadless breakfast sandwich could signal the brand is trying to tap into both the keto diet craze and the fact that consumers are eating less bread. More dieters are embracing keto, which focuses on low-carb, high-fat foods, and the trend has a strong social media following.
Asking consumers to petition around things like dictionary definition changes has also become a fairly popular marketing tactic. With the return of its Pastrami Thickburger earlier in the fall, Carl's Jr. called on followers to sign a Change.org petition to get the term "condimeat" added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary.