Advertising That Works: Sprint “Oxen” Commercial

Remember way back, long, long ago, when flip phones were all the rage? Then maybe you remember this commercial:

In it, a farmer is standing in his field, forlorn, surrounded by hundreds of wiener dogs. What’s the problem? Well, he says, “I ordered two hundred oxen…not two hundred dachshunds.”

As a somewhat too-late solution, he is offered a new Sprint cell phone, to keep his conversations clear from now on.

We think this ad works because it’s hilarious! Not only does it brilliantly get the point across (“clearer service is useful; we offer clear service”) it also resonates with consumers over a long period of time. Viewers are still sharing this commercial around social media, and although the particular deal advertised is (obviously) no longer available, it’s still great publicity for Sprint.

Feel-good marketing is popular, and ads that keep making people laugh will keep being relevant for far longer than ads that simply inform consumers of a deal. That’s why this Sprint ad is this week’s “Advertising That Works!”


An Oscar Mayer Wienermobile was spotted in Houston, Texas this past week!


The #HellOnBuns Wienermobile travels all over the country and stopped in Houston last week. It scheduled stops in parking lots in front of a couple of HEB and a couple of Fiesta grocery stores in town. Did you know there are 6 Wienermobiles in existence today? We spotted Kacee con Queso and Smokey Steph, aka Team #HellOnBuns, aka Oscar Meyer’s South Team in traffic last week. And we couldn’t help but notice these “hotdoggers” and want to learn more about them!

According to Wikipedia, Carl Mayer (Oscar Mayer’s nephew) created the first Wienermobile version in 1936. Gas rationing during World War II kept the vehicle off the road, but in 1950 several new vehicles were created from a Dodge chassis or Willys Jeep chassis. These Wienermobiles were piloted by “little Oscar” who would visit stores, schools, orphanages, childrens’ hospitals; and participate in parades and festivals. In 1969, new Wienermobiles were built on a Chevrolet motor home chassis and featured Ford Thunderbird taillights. In 1988, Oscar Mayer launched its Hotdogger Program where recent college graduates were hired to drive the mobile through various parts of the country during the summer.  Read more about these “hotdogger” drivers here at the Oscar Mayer website:

We relished the visit and declare the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile as “Advertising that Works!”

The Cost of a TV Commercial


So how much does a television ad really cost? To price a TV commercial you need to weigh the costs of two things: The cost to produce the commercial and the cost to air the commercial. Production costs to create a commercial range in little to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Some independent television stations will produce your ad for free if you sign up for a minimum of three months of commercial spots, but we don’t recommend that. The average cost for producing a 30-second commercial is nearly $350,000.  The standard half hour of TV contains 22 minutes of program and 8 minutes of commercials, 6 minutes for national advertising and 2 minutes for local.

Depending on the time of day aired (or viewers estimated), will determine the cost of the commercial. Obviously commercials during less-watched programs are more affordable, yet they may still run in excess of $100,000 per 30-seconds. These days, a prime-time 30-second TV commercial for a low-watched show will run you over $200,000. This past year’s Super Bowl commercials hit an all time high price of a 30-second spot costing $4 million to air, CBS reported.

Most small- to medium-sized businesses find that local advertising can be purchased for as little as $5 per 1,000 viewers, meaning that you could easily expect to pay less than $100 per commercial slot. The best way to cut costs is to make sure you know the programs your target market is most likely to watch. We suggest using a media- placement or ad agency to negotiate the best spot prices for you.