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Ads on the road: 8 wacky brandmobiles

LL Bean flagship store in Maine with Bootmobile outsideLL Bean flagship store in Maine with Bootmobile outside
L.L. Bean's flagship store in Maine, its home state, is the only one that sells guns. Courtesy: L.L. Bean

Who could forget seeing a giant hotdog, goldfish or egg driving down the street? That’s what businesses hope when they build oddball cars to serve as brand ambassadors. For many of the companies, commissioning a “brandmobile” is a way to celebrate a product’s anniversary or other special occasion. Below are eight of the most memorable among them.

1 The Cadbury Creme Egg Car

It may slightly resemble the Google self-driving car, but this automobile is, well, even more egg-shaped and colorful. And its promoting an iconic candy: the Cadbury Creme Egg. The sweet-shaped vehicle has been featured on the road for various advertising campaigns. There are at least five driving around — mostly in U.K. and particularly Bourneville near the Cadbury factory.

2 The Hershey’s Kissmobile

Another chocolate-themed roadster, the Hershey’s Kissmobile is quite the treat. Featuring three separate Hershey’s kisses in a row mounted on a moving platform, the Kissmobile first revved its engines to coincide with the candy’s 90th anniversary in 1997.

The car’s maker explained that the confectionary vehicle was made to “generate public awareness and support for their charity partner, ‘The Children’s Miracle Network.'” Apparently successful, Hershey’s had two others built. Each Kissmobile travels over 30,000 miles annually, visiting hospitals, schools and shopping malls.

3 The L.L. Bean Bootmobile

L.L. Bean’s flagship store in Maine, its home state, is the only one that sells guns.

For Maine retail giant L.L. Bean, the decision to go mobile came in 2012 during the store’s 100th anniversary. And what better way to celebrate than make a car in the shape of a giant shoe? But that’s not all. What’s better than one giant shoe-shaped car? Two giant shoe-shaped cars. L.L. Bean said via email that the first boot now has a “sole mate.” According to a company spokesman, “the original L.L.Bean Bootmobile was so popular we decided we should have a pair.” He added, “The new Bootmobile will travel the country, along with the original, promoting a healthy, active outdoor lifestyle for people of all ages.”

4 The Oscar Mayer Weinermobile

The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, parked in Manhattan.

The hotdog-shaped vehicle may be one of the most popular brandmobiles to date, and that’s partly because it’s been around for nearly 80 years. First built in the 1930s, the large weiner-shaped car has been entrancing the masses to buy Oscar Mayer’s meats ever since. The food company lauds the Weinermobile on its website, with a blog focused solely on the traveling hotdog’s daily escapades. Titled the “Hotdogger Blog,” it’s all about, you guessed it, “Life Inside the Wienermobile.”

5 The Just Born Peepsmobile

Before making the sugary chicks and other holiday confections fit for any occasion, Just Born hit the road with the Peepsmobile for the brand’s 50th anniversary in 2003. There are now three cars total, two of which were manufactured a decade later. Each gigantic yellow peep sits atop a yellow Volkswagen Beetle.

“The cars are used at events and for promotions that the Peeps brand is involved in on both the community and national level and helps to bring smiles to people who not only encounter it at events, but also on the road,” according to Matthew Pye, vice president of trade relations and corporate affairs for Just Born.

6 The Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Mobile

It’s the snack that smiles back, but in gigantic, automobile form. What’s not to like about a large, happy goldfish cracker on wheels? That’s what one gets — a grin — when checking out the Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Mobile, a wonder concocted by Prototype Source, a maker of mobile marketing vehicles. “Certainly not your usual fish-out-of-water, the Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Mobile draws attention from crowds coast-to-coast,” the company’s website says. It’s 23 ft. long, 13 ft. tall and features an 8-ft. pair of sunglasses “wrapped above a playful Goldfish smile.”

7 The Planters Nutmobile

Planters first built its Nutmobile in 1935 and has used one as part of its broader NASCAR sponsorship.  It got an upgrade in 2011 for the “Naturally Remarkable” tour, Planters created a new car that runs on biodiesel and solar energy. “Inspired by how peanuts naturally give back to the earth, the new Planters Nutmobile uses environmentally-conscious materials and harnesses the power of sunlight and wind,” the company said on its website. 

8 The Red Bull Mobile

Drinking Redbull, the caffeine-fortified energy drink, makes you feel like you can fly. But seeing a Red Bull-inspired car provides its own energy kick. The car, a Volkswagen, has a giant drink can on its roof. The company brings out the vehicle for special occasions involving its many sponsorships of car and motorcycle races.