From Canyon To Cove: The woman behind the Golden Wiener

July 14, 2011|By Cindy Frazier
  • Melinda Morgan Kartsonis, the owner of Morgan Marketing & Public Relations, LLC., cooks homemade chocolate chip cookies in her test kitchen at her office in Irvine on Tuesday.
Melinda Morgan Kartsonis, the owner of Morgan Marketing… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

It was mid-June, and we were awash in the seasonal gloom when a box arrived at the editorial offices of the Coastline Pilot. Inside the box, nestled in brown and gold packing material, was an 18-karat gold wiener.

It also happened to be the week that former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-New York) was being pilloried for sexting messages and photos of his, ahem, wiener, to a number of women all over the country.

[An earlier version of this story misspelled Rep. Anthony Weiner's name.]

"Congratulations, Cindy!" a certificate sealed in an envelope declared. "You are a chosen recipient of Wienerschnitzel's 50th anniversary 18K Gold Wiener Tenna Topper.

"This genuine, limited edition, gold-plated wienie is a special gift to lettuce share how much we relish your participation in our year-long 50th anniversary celebration.

"We don't mean to sound cheesy, but we get positively giddy when we imagine our loyal fans cruising top-down during the hot, dog days of summer, with our golden wienies flying in the wind."


The Golden Wiener certainly broke up the June gloom that week, and I had to marvel at the advertising genius who came up with it.

Meet Melinda Morgan Kartsonis, a Laguna Beach resident who specializes in public relations for food establishments. Kartsonis, who is now celebrating 20 years in the business, works with high-brow and low-brow eateries, everything from Sapphire Laguna to Tastee Freez.

Kartsonis says that representing Irvine-based Wienerschnitzel requires a sense of humor.

"I've worked with wieners for 16 years now, and nothing surprises me anymore," she said.

Of the fact that her 18K gold wieners landed on editors' desks during "Weinergate," she laughed that, even though the golden wiener idea was hatched a year before, "I couldn't have prayed for better timing."

Weiner (the congressman) had to step down from his post, but that takes nothing away from Wienerschnitzel.

The Wienerschnitzel folks apparently don't mind taking a ribbing now and then.

"The company has a sense of humor," Kartsonis said.

One of the more amusing stunts that Kartsonis has organized for the hot dog company is a chili tug-of-war, in which students pull against each other over a vat of chili. The losing team ends up taking a bath in the company's signature sauce.

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