America might need a little more convincing.
Last month, Oscar Mayer ditched some of its less desirable ingredients—namely, artificial preservatives and nitrites—from its infamous (and admittedly delicious) hot dogs. But along with its new and improved recipe, the food giant is making a bold claim: it thinks its wieners, served on buns, qualify as sandwiches.
In an interview with PR Week, Gregory Guidotti, Oscar Mayer's head of marketing, admitted that whether hot dogs are sandwiches or not has long been a heated debate, but he falls decidedly on the team sandwich.
“All over America, the argument about whether a hot dog is a sandwich is raging, and our Oscar Mayer offices are no different," Guidotti tells Food & Wine via email. "I personally believe a hot dog is a sandwich, because of the dictionary definition."
So what does the dictionary say? In his interview with PR Week, Guidotti explains "The dictionary defines a hotdog as a sandwich consisting of a frankfurter in a split roll," Indeed, and according to Dictionary.com, a sandwich is "two or more slices of bread or the like with a layer of meat, fish, cheese, etc., between each pair." So, Guidotti may just be on to something.
"I was an English major as an undergrad, so I'm taking the contrarian view that it is a sandwich," he continues, "because it really aggravates people in the office here. It creates that good argument." In fact, he told the site people take to social media to spur on the debate, posting videos and pictures to Instagram and Facebook. To fuel the fire, Oscar Mayer makes shirts and hats that come down on either side of the debate, saying, "it's a sandwich," or, "it's not a sandwich."
"We reply to consumers on social to tell them we love they are talking about this," says Guidotti. After all, it's just a good sales strategy, he explains. "Marketing has become so much of a one-to-one relationship at scale on social media," Guidotti says.
Continuing his statement to Food & Wine, Guidotti thinks the discussion is what's most important. "Most/All of my colleagues don’t agree with me, to put it mildly. But we all share a love of Oscar Mayer & hot dogs…so we’re thrilled that people are having this conversation.”