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Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest Offers Buffet of PR Opportunities

Earlier today we explored how Ball Park Hot Dogs successfully used humor to promote their products during the July 4th week. Hot dogs are, after all, an all-American food item right up there with apple pie and 40-ounce sodas.

Now it’s time to give some PR love to Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs, which today held the 98th Annual Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest. This spectacle is public relations perfection even when—especially when—things go wrong, whether that be questionable judges and contestants to the Takeru Kobayashi controversy which barred the popular champion for refusing to sign an exclusive contract with the event’s organizers.

The pinnacle of public relations occurs when a brand, product or event becomes part of the culture. Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest has certainly done that. The brand took a beloved product considered a symbol of American cuisine (for lack of a better word) and created a competitive and compelling event held annually on our nation’s birthday. That’s the perfect storm of public relations goodness.

The event garners positive press on every level of the media and digital networks—all without being lost in the noise of competitors or similar events. Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest offers a uniqueness and quirkiness that Americans love. The very concept is kooky, fun, gluttonous and oddly entertaining—and yet the event is serious business. For both the brand and the public.

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