171: Hot Dogs on the 4th of July: Ketchup, Mustard, Marketing
On this special 4th of July No BS Marketing podcast, let’s talk ketchup, mustard, and marketing.
Americans will eat more than 7 billion hot dogs from Memorial Day through Labor Day, 150 million on the 4th of July holiday alone. We average about 70 hot dogs per person eaten each year. If you have one, do you top it with ketchup or mustard?
According to a YouGov survey, the most popular condiment for hot dogs is mustard (72%) followed by ketchup (59%), onions (51%) and relish (47%).
Age has a big impact on our choice. 73% of 16-34-year-olds ate their hot dogs with ketchup while only 41% of those 35 and older did.
Makes sense. Kids love ketchup. Children have different taste buds than adults and notice bitter tasting foods more. Plus creative commercials help create long-lasting habits like adding ketchup to a hot dog. Remember the Anticipation theme from these two classics?
But sometimes one organization’s message hurts a complimentary product. The National Hot Dog & Sausage Council’s Do’s and Don’ts of Hot Dog Etiquette surely caught the attention of ketchup companies with this one: Heinz Anticipation Commercial 1979.
Use ketchup on your hot dog after the age of 18.
Mustard, relish, onions, cheese, and chili are acceptable.
Whether you like your hot dog with ketchup, mustard or some other way, you can benefit from these Messaging Do’s and Don’ts:
Do…Focus on creative promotions to tell your story. Just like the hot dog industry promotes National Hot Dog Month, you can promote your anniversary, new equipment, locations and hires in a creative way.
Do…Make it about your target audiences. Why does it matter to them?
Don’t…Miss opportunities to promote your uniqueness. Develop a content calendar to tell your story throughout the year.
Don’t…Make messaging, branding and PR decisions by committee. You’ll end up with a little bit of what each person wanted and a lot of wasted advertising dollars.
Don’t…think your instincts are better than a combination of listening to customers through Marketing Intel, brainstorming with your leadership team AND your instincts. So many times I see companies suffer because decisions made about marketing or messaging are made based on instincts…thinking “I know my market, I know my customers, I’ve done this for X number of years.”
If you’re still not sure about ketchup on your hot dog, in honor of my Dad on this 4th of July podcast, I’m going to quote one of his favorite movie characters. Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry makes it clear in the film Sudden Impact when he finished a rant about society’s ills by telling a hot dog eating detective at the scene that “Nah, this stuff isn’t getting to me, the shootings, the knifings, the beatings, old ladies being bashed in the head for their social security checks… Nah, that doesn’t bother me. But you know what does bother me? You know what makes me really sick to my stomach? It’s watching you stuff your face with those hotdogs. Nobody, I mean nobody puts ketchup on a hot dog.
Hey Dirty Harry, I do from time to time…guess I’m a BS’er when it comes to eating hot dogs.
Hope you enjoy your 4th of July Holiday week.