Here's the Scoop: May 12, 2010

Hot dog! That’s a great idea
As a general rule, I hate Internet advertising. These ads are a little too “in your face” for me. Plus, there’s the indisputable fact that newspaper ads are the only ones that work.
I must admit, though, every once in awhile I do come across an online ad that grabs my attention (although nowhere near as much as a newspaper ad). Such was the case this week when I opened my Home Page and found an ad begging me to click it to “Win a Day on the Wienermobile.”
My guess is there’s little need to explain the Wienermobile to anyone. Just in case, though, it’s a larger-than-life vehicle shaped like — yup — a gigantic hotdog. And the Wienermobile (there are seven, according to Wikipedia) travels around promoting Oscar Meyer products.
As a general rule, I don’t care for hot dogs — unless I’m at a baseball stadium and they cost $7.75 — because anything that expensive has to be good. The Wienermobile, however, is another story.
I don’t know if there really are seven of these classic pieces of Americana, but I know there’s at least one, because I have seen it in person.

Embedded in memory
This sighting occurred about 20 years ago in a hotel parking lot near Washington, D.C. My wife and I were heading for our car and there it was — larger than life. Much larger than life. At that point, I was not familiar with the existence of any Wienermobiles. Still, I tried to play things cool.
“Um, honey, I forgot which vehicle we brought,” I said coolly. “Did we bring the Civic or the 27-foot-long, 11-feet-high sedan shaped like a hot dog?”
“No, I think we left the Big Dog home in that oversized garage we had built for it,” she replied.
That was the end of the talking, as we stared up at the iconic Wienermobile. It may have been my imagination, but I swear that the scent of three-day-old hotdogs was wafting from the Wienermobile. It didn’t matter, this thing was totally cool.
Just then, the famous words that we occasionally hear in the newsroom, “Many great pictures are taken by people with cameras” came rushing at me. We raced back to the hotel room to get the camera. In less than five minutes we returned ready to…be very disappointed.
The Wienermobile was gone. We searched the parking lot, but there was no sign of this vehicle. “Schnitzel!” I shouted in frustration.
During the entire time that we drove toward our destination, we kept a lookout for the elusive Wienermobile but never saw another trace.
That’s why I was so excited to see the contest where it’s possible to Win a Day on the Wienermobile. Sure I realize that this is just a clever marketing tool designed to collect data on the entrants and generate a bunch of free publicity (as it’s doing here). But I don’t really care about those goals. I would really like (I think) to spend a day cruising around on the Wienermobile.
After seeing the Wienermobile ad, I made a mental note to revisit the ad when I was done with my other work. I couldn’t find it. I even Googled the Wienermobile contest, but only found information on previous events of this type.
Once again, I had missed the Wienermobile. Doggone it.