Pepto-Bismol to sponsor hot-dog eating contest

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 1st July 2010

The annual Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, nicknamed the ‘Superbowl of competitive eating’, will be sponsored by stomach remedy Pepto-Bismol this year.

The contest, celebrated every Fourth of July on Coney Island in New York, brings together the world champions of professional competitive eating, in an attempt to eat the largest possible number of hot dogs in ten minutes.

Pepto-Bismol treats multiple common stomach symptoms, which attracted Procter & Gamble to the event in the same way that sports remedies flock to more conventional sports.

“Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest is the ultimate case in point of celebrating the summer with food, so we’re excited to announce our sponsorship of the event,” said Colleen Jay, Vice President, P&G Personal Healthcare. “We wanted to show that whether you’ve gone a little overboard on your favorite food or eaten one too many hot dogs at your backyard BBQ this summer, turn to Pepto-Bismol.”

While not a major sport, competitive eating has its own professional governing body – Major League Eating, which sanctions the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Circuit and ensures the contests are judged professionally and that safety standards are in place at each event.

The world of competitive eating was turned upside down in 2001 after the contest’s record was smashed by the diminuitive Takeru Kobayashi, who ate 50 hot dogs, destroying the previously held record of 25 and one eighth. Previously, the contest had been ruled by men in XXXL teeshirts; after 2001, the contest has seen svelter competitors, including 47kg Juliet Lee.

Kobayashi was beaten in 2007, while suffering from arthrities of the jaw, by American competitor Joey Chestnut, using a technique similar to his own. Kobayashi delayed his retirement for two years, but was unable to reclaim the title.