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Hot-Dogger Travels the United States

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Communication graduate spends first year with Oscar Meyer


Holly Nelson  

Holly Nelson


2012 Hotdoggers


The official Oscar Meyer Weinermobile


UMD alum Holly Nelson is enjoying her first year in the real world by driving an Oscar Meyer Wienermobile. Nelson drives the Wienermobile to promote Oscar Meyer and run events around the United States.

“I have been a Hotdogger since June first and have already been to ten states,” said Nelson. When she was hired, she and the other Hotdoggers signed a one-year contract to work from June 1, 2012 to June 1, 2013.

Hotdoggers are the employees who get to drive the Wienermobiles. Six Wienermobiles are out on the road and each one has two Hotdoggers in it.

Nelson, from Onalaska, Wisconsin, graduated from UMD in May 2012 with a double major in Communication/Spanish as well as a minor in Journalism.

How they pick the Hotdoggers is where this experience becomes unique. Current Hotdoggers travel around to college campuses to promote the Wienermobile employment opportunity. The qualified applicants then have an interview with an Oscar Meyer supervisor. The top 30 applicants are offered a second interview which consists of being flown to Madison, Wisconsin where Oscar Meyer’s Corporate Office is located.

Nelson’s path to becoming a Hotdogger was much different. “A friend of mine from high school was a Hotdogger and told me about the position. I knew Oscar Meyer was not coming to UMD so he helped me set up a twenty-minute phone interview.”

When the 30 applicants arrived in Madison, they were put into groups of ten. Throughout the day they had up to six interviews. “The whole interview process was great because you felt the pressure of being around the other applicants going for the job. To be selected was a rewarding experience because around 1300 students applied,” said Nelson.

Nelson’s classes, as well as extracurricular activities, made her resume stand out. “Pretty much everything I did my sophomore through my senior year put me in position to be qualified for this job,” said Nelson.  

She knew traveling would suit her because she had worked at a Dude Ranch one summer and studied abroad in Spain. Nelson developed a passion for event planning and marketing because she was the KUMD Marketing Coordinator for a semester, an intern at the American Cancer Society, and was the Student Association Public Relations Director. To add on that she was president of UMD’s Communication Club and had numerous articles published from her Journalism classes, only helped her case.

“Being a Hotdogger is a great experience because we do so much. We plan and schedule events, run the events, handle media pitching, write our own press releases, do monthly vehicle checks, handle our corporate finances while on the road, and we book our own hotels,” said Nelson.

A typical week consists of four days of events, two days off, and then one day of hopping in the Wienermobile and driving to the next destination.

Nelson applies classroom knowledge and experience to her real life as a hotdogger. “It's surprising how much Spanish I use. I use it at pretty much every event we do. I love it because I get thrown into so many new real life situations. This job opportunity has a lot of perks like getting paid and getting to travel. I feel like being out in the real world is helping me grow up a lot.”


Written by Justin Capelle, September 2012

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