by Lee DeVito
Detroit may be fucking broke — but it has a golden, shiny beacon of hope in Packard Detroit. While auto manufacturing left the city long ago, Packard Detroit is proving that Detroiters can still make nice things with their artisanal handcrafted expensive Coney Dogs.
But Packard Detroit is more than just a hot dog company. It’s a lifestyle brand. Heck, it’s more than a lifestyle brand. It’s a way of life. Shit, it’s a religion — and the only thing that can save Detroit.
“We’re creating a new identity for Detroit,” says Packard Detroit’s CEO Ken Vonbock. “It’s not about the decay or the ruins. It’s about the city we now call home. It’s about Detroit.”
Packard Detroit started hawking their wieners in March after years of focus group testing. “Hot dogs and cars have always been central to the identity of Detroit,” Vonbock explains. “Our focus group polling proved that, when they asked 1,000 Americans what came to their mind when we asked them, ‘What does Detroit mean to you?’ Nine out of ten Americans answered either cars or hot dogs. The other ten percent answered murder and crime.”
To aid him in his quest for Detroit’s spiritual awakening, Vonbock dusted off a classic, defunct American car brand to make his company seem even more old-timey and authentic. The original Packard brand was founded in 1899 and produced luxury automobiles. The brand gained notoriety from a popular colloquialism from the time, “You don’t know poop from a Packard,” but folded in 1958.
True, Packard Detroit dogs aren’t actually manufactured in Detroit. But they are expertly hand-assembled by artisan craftspeople here. Using free range non-GMO beef from cattle serenaded by classical music in northern California, each Packard Detroit dog comes with a signed certificate of authenticity, as well as a photograph, brief biography, and autograph from the artisan who assembled your hot dog.
The brand shills other luxury items not made yet hand-assembled here in Detroit as well, such as a $48,000 hot dog cart and a $899 baseball glove hot dog holder.
Critics accuse Packard of being Detroit’s misguided white knight. Cynics claim it is bankrolled by an insidiously PR-savvy arm of a Texas-based conglomerate masquerading as an indie upstart in embattled Detroit in order to justify selling its wares at such outrageously high prices that Detroiters can’t even afford to buy them, while laughing all the way to the bank (like the media darlings at Shinola).
Others say that Packard’s plan to erect four statues of anthropomorphic hot dogs around Detroit as “a gift to the city” is itself nothing but a giant PR move. (Some even say that the statues will be immediately tagged by graffiti artists and vandals anyway, because that’s what Detroit deserves.)
But these cynics are just being weenies. It’s obvious that Packard isn’t doing all this for their own gain: Packard is doing this for Detroit. Isn’t that the point of capitalism?
For more information, check out Packard Detroit’s official web page at facebook.com/detroitpackard.