For most recent college graduates, traveling the country immediately after receiving an often expensive diploma is a luxury.
Not for Jason Hoffman, a Great Neck native, who has spent the past eight months roaming the country in style. As a brand ambassador for Oscar Mayer, Hoffman has traveled to 25 states in the iconic “Wienermobile” promoting the cold-cut company at events and grocery stores throughout the Northeast and Southwest.
“It’s really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Hoffman, 23, said. “I’ve always wanted to travel the country, and to get paid to do it has been great.”
Hoffman decided to apply for the one-year program last year, as a senior at the University of Missouri. He had heard about the position from an old classmate, who would regularly send him pictures and videos from his adventures in the Wienermobile.
The company usually receives between 1,200 and 1,300 “hotdogger” applications each year. After several rounds of interviews, Hoffman was one of 12 chosen to represent the brand.
“My husband was a little skeptical of the job at first,” Hoffman’s mother, Marjorie Hoffman said. “But [her son] sold us on it. It’s a great way to see the country for a recent college grad, and a great job that just makes people happy.”
In June 2015, Hoffman began his tenure as a “hotdogger.” He’s since given out thousands of Oscar Mayer “wienerwhistles” at dozens of supermarkets across the country.
So far he says he’s logged about 30,000 miles, driving one of the six 27-foot-long, 11-foot-tall wienermobiles circulating nationally. The current model, which seats six and has a ketchup-and-mustard-themed interior, is much larger than the original Wienermobile, which was built by Oscar Mayer’s nephew and first hit the road in 1936.
In June, Hoffman will hand over the keys to the hot dog on wheels before the broadcast journalism major begins looking for work in either sports marketing or radio.
Hoffman will be back on Long Island on Friday, March 18, handing out Oscar Mayer paraphernalia and giving tours of the vehicle.
From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Wienermobile can be found at the Stop and Shop in Franklin Square located at 460 Franklin Ave. and from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Stop and Shop in Woodbury at 8101 Jericho Tpke.