Before the dominance of pop-up advertisements and web banners, companies would have to promote their products in physical form – sometimes taking them on the road. If they wanted to make a big splash, they had to have a customized, eye-catching ride to get everyone talking. Well, here we are with a list of ten hard-to-miss cars that were designed and built to sear a corporate logo into your eyeballs.
1. Oscar Mayer Wienermobile
Everyone knows the Wienermobile: Created in 1936, there have been 11 versions of the Wienermobile built to date, using a variety of chasses and platforms, including a bite-sized Wienermobile built on a Mini Cooper S. Currently boasting a fleet of six in the United States, their drivers are officially known as the Hotdoggers.
2. Planters NUTmobile
If you thought the Wienermobile was the OG food-shaped vehicle, you may be surprised to learn that Planters Peanuts decided to try their hand at grabbing people’s attention with a nutty car a year earlier in 1935. Drivers are known as Peanutters, though former company mascot, Mr. Peanut, has been succeeded by [checks notes] uh… Bart.
3. Red Bull Wings Team Car
These Red Bull can cars were a regular sight around entertainment districts or on college campuses, with promoters slinging cans of the energy drink at passersby. Based on a Mini Cooper, this vehicle is pretty extensively modified, featuring a cooler or an insulated bin for ice in the back, which is perfect for keeping cans of Red Bull chilled. Unfortunately, the giant can on the roof is empty.
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4. Steam Whistle Retro Electro
The Canadian Brewery has a fleet of green vehicles, many of which are restored classics. The bright green livery makes them hard to miss, but the coolest of them all is the 1958 Chevrolet Apache affectionately known as “Retro Electro.” It packs an all-electric drivetrain, with 465 lb-ft of torque and a range of 150 km, which sounds ideal for those who need their beer in a hurry.
5. No Frills #HaulerCart
Talk about the perfect grocery-getter! For a brand called No Frills, this promotion goes way over the top. The #HaulerCart is a motorized cart that promo artists drive around town, spreading cheer and the word of good grocery deals. True to its name, it looks like an awesome hauler.
6. Everlast “The Big Punch”
In Peru, this car became a huge hit, as part of the “Defend Your World” campaign to address sexism and abuse towards female motorists from males. If a female driver encountered abuse on the road, they could tweet their plates and location along with the hashtag #guantazo. Then Peruvian Volleyball star Natalia Málaga would show up in her motorized Everlast glove to help settle the situation, and teach those rude drivers a lesson.
7. Hershey’s Kissmobile
Imagine a 12-foot-tall motorized Hershey’s Kiss and try to keep yourself from drooling. This vehicle was created to raise donations and awareness of the Children’s Miracle Network, travelling over 250,000 miles since it was created in 1997. It’s since been retired, spending its time at the Antique Automobile Club of America Museum, where visitors are encouraged to make their own Kissmobile with a variety of delicious ingredients.
8. Outspan Orange
In the UK, the Outspan brand of oranges frequently promoted their products with a specially built orange-shaped Mini. With a 48-inch wheelbase, it could only travel at a top speed of 30 mph, as going any faster would be too dicey for the spherical ride, which operated under constant threat of a rollover (and over and over). Careful study of the design reveals it isn’t a perfect sphere, but distorted as if the orange is already in motion. It’s the little details that elevate these cars beyond mere curiousities.
9. Zippo Car
George G. Blaisdell, the founder and inventor of the Zippo lighter, is said to have loved cars, especially product-mobiles like those on this list. Created with a 1947 Chrysler Saratoga, the first Zippo Car mysteriously disappeared in the ’70s. It was then replaced in 1996, this time by a 1947 Chrysler New Yorker. It’s travelled the country and participated in parades – but surely one of the objectives is to find the original Zippo Car. It has to be out there... somewhere.
10. Cadbury Creme Egg Car
A car with a creme-filled centre sound like a detailer’s nightmare, but this time we’re happy to spill the details on the Cadbury Creme Egg Car. Five of these chocolate-eggy beauties were built using the running gear of a Bedford/Vauxhall van. If you’re staring at those headlights wondering where they’re sourced, you can rest easy knowing that they’re from a Citroen 2CV.