Oscar Mayer used the game's halftime extravaganza to showcase the winners of Talent Search II, a $5 million, seven-month-long promotion in which the Wienermobile toured the country looking for kids to sing the company's wiener and bologna jingles. Young Mr. Thompson, now 4, is from Nashville, Tenn.
In a 90-second ad package, created by J. Walter Thompson USA, Chicago, viewers got a glimpse of kids from across the nation singing the classic jingles. At the end, a 20-second spot unveiled the talent search grand prize winner: Mr. Thompson, singing the bologna song.
Talent Search, says Kevin Scott, VP-marketing, strategy and international, builds off the belief that every parent thinks their kid is a star. Talent Search judges, including the 30 "hotdoggers" who drive the 27-foot-long hot dog, heard 65,000 kids sing for the chance to be the star of an Oscar Mayer commercial.
"This is a way to contemporarize the Oscar Mayer brand among parents who grew up eating Oscar Mayer products and to raise awareness of the brand for kids," says Mr. Scott, who coordinates the marketing efforts across the Oscar Mayer division.
Talent Search has built brand awareness-by company accounts, unaided awareness of Oscar Mayer with Talent Search zoomed 500% immediately following Super Bowl XXXI-and boosted sales. Company officials credit the seven-month promotion for boosting share for the entire product line.
Talent Search is by no means a one-shot campaign.
"We're developing this into an equity building program," says Mr. Scott, 38. "We're doing it again this year and for years to come."
This means a fleet of Wienermobiles hits the road again this month and will tour more than 90 cities and 42 states.