Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Eckrich Funhouse Toy

The Oscar Mayer Weinermobile has had loads of merchandising tie-ins. Sadly he rest of the product mobiles have had very few. So it seems logical that one of the rarest, the Eckrich FunHouse, which no one seems to even remember would have ZERO collectibles associated with it. Not so, however, as a recent internet find tells us otherwise.

We recently found this Eckrich Fun house bean bag plush for sale on this website.

We don't have any details on the item and don't know whether this was mass produced for the consumer or was some kind of retailer incentive. If anyone has any information please let us know.

Monday, June 29, 2009

"Not a Product Mobile" Part 1: Elsie the Cow

As mentioned before, the economy is hell on product mobile tours. Gasoline, staff and promotional considerations don't come cheap and while the stock markets continue recovery attempts, most product mobiles remain immobile.

That immobility leads to a lack of new product mobile information. So in order to fill up some blog space we present a recurring "Not a Product Mobile" feature. In order to qualify as a "NAPM" the item in question needs to:

1. Travel or tour in some capacity
2. Promote a product, service or concept
3. Be interesting in some way

So let's start off with Borden Milk's Elsie the Cow!

Nothing beats a real life advertising icon. Elsie travels (with her calf Beauregard) to State Fairs, parades, schools and other events spreading the word about the bone strengthening goodness of Borden Milk.

Elsie has a long history and exudes a furry, cuddly cuteness that the Wienermobile could only hope for. She was named one of the Top 10 Advertising Icons of All Time so seeing her in person shouldn't definitely be on your bucket list.

Around the time we were making the Fast Food documentary we were also producing a TV show called North Texas Explorer and we featured Elsie in our State Fair episode. Here's the video:

Sunday, June 28, 2009

V-8 Juice Roadster Included in Barris Auction

George Barris, legendary custom car designer most famously known for his design of the 1960's Batmobile, was honored at an auction for custom and famous cars from TV and movies. It looks like the only Product Mobile that was represented at the auction was the Barris-created V-8 Juice Roadster.

Here is some information about the event.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

SpamMobile Video

Here is a clip about the SpamMobile from our documentary "Fast Food."

Click HERE to buy your own copy of "Fast Food."

Friday, June 12, 2009

Yoo-Hoo Trailer

I have zero details about this Yoo-Hoo trailer except that it came to us from "Orchid Rock Systems:"


So if anyone knows of any details about it please let us know.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Zippo Car Anniversary Sign

Here is a commemorative tin sign that was released to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Zippo Car. I saw this, awhile back, for sale on eBay. I never got around to bidding though.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Chicken Dinner Candy Truck

An earlier entry briefly mentioned the Chicken Dinner Candy Truck which promoted the oddly named Chicken Dinner Candy bars. Here is a vintage pictue of it from "Special Interest Autos" magazine.

While trying to wrap my brain around this concept I stumbled onto a better picture of the truck from Charles Phoenix's website.

Apparently the Chicken Dinner Candy Bar contained 0% chicken and was promoted more as a filling meal than as a snack. Since they don't seem to be around anymore we can assume their marketing failed on all fronts.

Further investigation revealed that the company created not one, but a fleet of Chicken Dinner Candy Trucks to spread the word. This picture from the "Kitschy Kitschy Coo" website confirms no less than nine of the trucks existed at one point.

While this proud poultry parade may have disappeared from the highways forever, my own personal travels brought about the discovery of a similar chicken themed vehicle. This picture was taken near Paducah, KY.

This modified El Caballero may or may not have promoted a chicken related product or service. I have no details about it and it will most likely remain shrouded in mystery forever. And that's probably ok.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Cadbury Cream Egg Car Guest Stars on KateModern

Until recently I was completely unaware of both the Cadbury Cream Egg Car and KateModern. It turns out that both are British sensations.

The Cadbury Cream Egg car is a genuine English product mobile in the shape of the Cadbury Cream Egg. Every year this top selling candy fills Easter baskets and every year we all pretend to like them. As for KateModern, it's a popular online soap opera. Although from this clip it seems more like a comedy.

So sit back and enjoy the Cadbury Cream Egg Car's guest starring role in KateModern:

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Making a Case for Thomas the Tank Engine

At first it may not seem like the life sized version of Thomas the Tank Engine would fall into the typical Product Mobile category but I think it definitely qualifies for the following reasons:

1. It travels around the country (and beyond)

2. It promotes a product (namely the "Thomas and Friends" franchise and the multitude of toys associated with it)

3. It's fun

Well, that's all I need. Here are some pictures we took of Thomas during one of our shoots (Sadly, Thomas never made it into the "Fast Food" documentary.)

Another great thing about it is that it is one of the few vehicles that is still touring. Check out their website for dates and locations.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Doug Klassen's Wienermobile Collection

Doug Klassen is one of many avid Wienermobile collectors. He recently gave us some insights into his collection.
Fast Food: How did you first start collecting Wienermobile items?

Doug Klassen: In the mid '90s I was visiting a toy and collectable show with some friends. My son was young and keen to look for Star Wars stuff. Passing a table of assorted toy items I saw a Wienermobile coin bank sitting there for sale. It made me smile and I couldn't resist picking it up. It brought back fond memories of my childhood in the '50s and '60s when TV ads showed the Wienermobile rolling up and the announcer saying "Hey kids! It's Little Oscar!" Having spent $7.00 on worse things I bought the bank just for fun.
Some time later at another show I spotted a second Wienermobile bank but it was of a slightly different style than the first one I'd bought. It seemed to make sense to have one of each. It has all been downhill from there. Banks, HotWheel cars, Wienermobile boxer shorts, and the almost anything branded with the Wienermobile on it came home with me over the years.

FF: How large is your collection?
DK: To be honest, I've lost count as to how many items I have now. I know it's something past seventy different Wienermobile cars in various forms and another thirty to fifty additional items from computer disks to cast iron frying pans. Many are put away, too much stuff to display in the living room. OK, I don't think there is too much to display but my wife refuses to take down the family pictures and keepsakes to make room for any more Wienermobiles than about a dozen or so at one time.

FF: What are some of the more unusual items in the collection?
DK: The special items in the collection are those that are not normally offered to the general public, internal or corporate promotional items made either officially or unofficially for distribution to employees and VIPs.

FF: Do you have a favorite item?
DK: Once you get past collecting the regularly available items like the coin banks, then the more obscure or limited items become of interest. I have two favorite items. The first is a Wienermobile driver's (more properly called a "Hot Dogger") embroidered knit jersey from the early 1990s.
The other items would be a pewter Christmas ornament that was never offered to the general public but appears to be a corporate gift for, I would suppose, important customers and vendors. I received an e-mail one time from someone at Oscar Mayer who said "Holy cow! You've got stuff I've never seem before!"
My most treasured item is an original Wienermobile toy from the early 1950s with it's original box. As with many collectibles, it's not always that difficult to find an item, finding it with the original box is a special treat. I thought I was crazy to pay $175 for it but I've seen one sell since then on Ebay for $350.

FF: Is there a specific Wienermobile collectible that you don't have that you really want?
DK: The one item I'd really like to have is a pewter diorama featuring the Wienermobile with the Hot Doggers and some kids. I've only ever seen one on Ebay and I got out bid. There have been three or four editions of the Wienermobile as a pedal car but they are very bulky and I have a small home so really cannot display them hence I have never bought them.

FF: Any advice for future Wienermobile collectors?

DK: Wienermobiles are about smiles. I've never shown someone my Wienermobile collection and not seen them smile. Don't bother to collect for any perceived monetary value or appreciation, collect for the smiles. I once gave a Wienermobile bank as a gift to a friend who had done me a favor. He has a collection of very fine antique clocks and watches displayed in his home. He said originally he set the Wienermobile bank there amongst the timepieces but people would walk in, gaze at the wall of mechanical art, and exclaim "Hey, a Wienermobile!" His timepiece collection could not stand up to the sheer charisma of a Wienermobile. He finally moved the Wienermobile to a less prominent place in his home. Like I said, collect for the smiles.

To see more of Doug's collection visit his website:

Interview w/ Bruce Brackman from Prototype Source

FF: What exactly is Prototype Source?

Bruce Brackman: Prototype Source was started in 1986 by myself and Dorian Duke as a fabrication facility to assist a variety of design disciplines realize their visions three-dimensionally. We have been involved with Furniture, Toys, Medical Devices, Architectural Elements and lots of small Product Designs.
We quickly became focused in the Automotive Design area ... supporting several of the major Automotive Manufacturers who had opened satellite Design Studios in the Los Angeles area. We have built several significant Concept Cars such as the "New Beetle" and the "Corvette Sting Ray III."
Our involvement in the Automotive Industry led us to an opportunity to re-create a fleet of Oscar Mayer Wienermobiles in conjunction with famed Automotive Stylist "Harry Bradley". We were instrumental in the Mechanical Design concepts and produced a Wind Tunnel model which we tested at Caltech's.

This was the beginning of our focus on Promotional Vehicles.

FF: How many promotional vehicles has Prototype Source made?

BB: It is hard to say ... but I would guess there are over 50 vehicles that we have built as Promotional Vehicles and probably another 25 Concept Car projects.

FF: Tell us about about the process of going from initial concept to finished vehicle
BB: Typically we are contacted by a Marketing Company ... or the Marketing Arm of a Manufacturer ... with some sort of idea they have for a tour which involves a special vehicle. Sometimes they have a sketch that we will use as a basis for our design. Sometimes we do some brainstorming and come up with a Concept Sketch that everyone is excited about.
If there is a lot of "Sculpting" involved ... we like to build a scale model so everyone can get a complete view of the subtle details. From the model we can digitally scan the surface and machine the image full size in Styrofoam. We use Fiberglass to reinforce the foam or create a hallow shell to be used on an appropriate chassis. Details such as lighting, electronics sound systems, games and gear storage are integrated into the available spaces. Final paint and surface finishes are applied and the vehicle is ready to hit the road.

FF: What were some of the most challenging design aspects to create?

BB: The most challenging component on a Promotional Vehicle is finding ... or making ... a Windshield that will fit the desired shape. Custom shapes can be made but are expensive for One-Off. If you have a fleet of vehicles it can make sense to shape your own.
There are also State and Federal D.O.T. regulations that need to be addressed when designing something special like this. Special Driver's Licenses are needed if the vehicle is too big or heavy and overall height and width dimensions which can limit your design envelope.

FF: Do you maintain ongoing communication with the companies you build the vehicles for? Or keep up with the various vehicle tours?

BB: We are always available to our clients and tend to have repeat or ongoing relationships with them. Some of the larger fleets even have a GPS based Diagnostic System on board so we can check the status of most of the mechanical systems on-line. Usually get to see the vehicles in their regularly scheduled "Down Time" just to keep up on the overall conditions or add new updated show components.

FF: Do you have more promotional vehicles planned for the future?

BB: Sure ... we always have inquires about Special Projects. Companies are finding that a Promotional Vehicles can target consumers on a "grassroots" level ... in a way that can leave a huge product "Impression" for a lot less money than they can in other forms of advertising.

FF: Do you have a personal favorite promotional vehicle that Prototype Source created?
BB: I think we all liked "Mr. Peanut's Hot Rod" the best. We have a bunch of "Hot Rod" guys in the shop and this had all the features of a real Hot Rod ... just much bigger. It was all our design so we just kept adding details as we went along. The crew had a great time building it and the client was really happy.
Of course the Wienermobile is also a big favorite ... it is the Grandfather of all these Promotional Vehicles. We have built 8 of them as well as a "Mini Wienermobile" ... based on a Mini Cooper ... that was also a really fun project

Thanks to Bruce and everyone at Prototype Source:


Pepperidge Farms Goldfish Mobile B & W Publicity Stills

Here are some black & white publicity photos of the Pepperidge Farms Goldfish Mobile. These are promoting the 2002 "Miles of Smiles Tour."

The pictures were sent to us by from Hunter Public Relations: