December '21

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76 THE SHOP DECEMBER 2021 n the Roaring Twenties, people did strange things to generate publicity. Alvin Shipwreck Kelly started the flagpole-sitting fad by perching in the sky for 13 hours and 13 minutes. Around the same time, Edward Noble thought up a more down-to-earth way to promote his ring-shaped sweets. He took the body off a 1918 Dodge truck and replaced it with one that resembled a package of his Life Savers Pep O Mint candy. That old pickup was one of the earliest productmobiles—cars and trucks used to promote a product or business and modi- fied to look like the things they're pro- moting. Over the years, there have been vehi- cles that looked like beer bottles, ciga- rette lighters, car mufflers, bowling pins, oranges, shoes, chickens, horses, eggs and vacuum cleaners. Most readers have prob- ably seen the recent don't-try-this-at-home TV commercial with the Planter's Peanut car flying down a street and speeding up a ramp into the air. Major American corporations have been contracting to have productmobiles made for them for over 100 years. In some instances, it's quite an elaborate process. One of the most famous is the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. Let's take a quick look at the different generations of the famed Wienermobiles to see how they were designed and who built them. 1936 Wienermobile It all began when a 13-foot-long metal hot dog was created in the shops of the General Body Co. in Chicago to transport the world's smallest chef—Little Oscar. The original version of the Wienermobile featured open cockpits in the center and at the rear. Later, a glass enclosure was added for the driver's protection. BILLBOARDS Rling "Productmobiles" offer extreme restyling possibilities for shops looking to create rolling billboards for their business customers. Productmobiles could mean added profits for your shop. By John Gunnell The Life Savers Pep O Mint truck of 1918 was one of the earliest productmobiles.

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