Gongol.com Archives: June 2024

Brian Gongol

June 11, 2024

Business and Finance When is a frankfurter not a hot dog?

Joey Chestnut, the world's most renowned competitive eater of hot dogs, has been told he is not welcome to attend the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog-Eating Contest this year unless he repents of his endorsement deal with Impossible Foods. ■ Chestnut, who is in a position as a perennial favorite and double-digit-year champion of the event to throw his weight around a bit, says his absence "will deprive the great fans of the holiday's usual joy and entertainment". It will still be Independence Day, after all, but the contest would certainly look different without him. ■ Not that it's anything but an entirely commercial endeavor, anyway. The holiday is rightly celebrated by re-reading at least a few lines of the Declaration of Independence; the hot dogs are just garnish on the day. But other than opening the door wide for Impossible Foods to get some free publicity for their plant-based frankfurters, the decision as reported may unintentionally elevate the meatless hot dogs. ■ If you're a sports-car company and a popular driver wants to endorse a motorcycle brand, you can openly say, "Motorcycles are totally different from sports cars, and there's lots of room for both!" But if you consider motorcycles peers or even rivals for a category like "The experience of driving fast", then you might actually be giving yourself a harder time in the long run by saying that there's a conflict between competing in one and being a spokesperson for the other. ■ The entire thing may be a self-serving fabricated controversy anyway -- that much remains to be seen. But it seems like the most prudent move for the incumbent makers of beef-based dogs is to "otherize" the vegan alternative as much as possible, rather than implying that they are competitors in the same class.