CENTERVILLE, Ohio (WDTN) — John Voss, Jr., owner of Voss Auto Group, died September 11, 2022 at age 79, but he leaves behind a legacy and a marketing campaign that everyone remembers.
Many people know the Voss Hoss jingle created in 1972, the same year the dealership opened, but few know where it came from.
“Voss Hoss was created by Disney!” exclaims Stephanie Griffin, Marketing Director for Voss Auto Group.
The same company that brought the world Mickey Mouse created the Voss caricature and the song to go along with it.
“It was at a time where Disney animators needed to go out and — for lack of a better word –moonlight a little bit to promote what they do and everything else at that time. Mr. Voss Senior met with some Disney animators, and they came up with the Voss Hoss jingle,” explains Griffin.
Griffin has held onto that history for much of her 22-year career at Voss.
“I opened up a box, and it was all of the handpainted film from the commercial and the storyboards that were handwritten out, and everything for it by Disney. I snagged that and kept it,” says Griffin, going through a treasure trove of old sketches from Disney animators. “The Voss Hoss still runs to this day.”
Over the last 50 years, the Voss family has built the largest auto group in the Miami Valley. They first opened the location on Loop Road in Centerville, followed by other locations throughout the Miami Valley, including the used dealership across the street from the original location. The Hoss became synonymous with the car dealer.
“To this day, people will say ‘what exactly is the Hoss? Is it a donkey? A horse?’ I’m like ‘no.’ It’s just the Hoss. There’s nothing else that needs to be said. He’s the Hoss,” laughs Griffin. “I say it’s the French fry hair. He looks like he has the French fry hair. I say that’s what makes him so popular.”
Over the years, the marketing always goes back to its Disney roots. Several years ago, the company even created singing Voss Hoss bobbleheads.
“It was amazing the phone calls we were getting, the people making comments about how it brings back memories from their childhood,” says Griffin.
With the animation ageless and the tune timeless, John Voss leaves behind a memorable and impactful legacy, with the Voss Hoss at the heart of the company.
“He was amazing. He instilled loyalty and integrity and ethics and made it all easy. He was everything. He was a lot. He was the heart of the network,” says Griffin.
“The things he would do for people, and the things he would do for the community is like no other. And he did it quietly. He didn’t do it to sell a car. He didn’t do it for the name. He did it because he wanted to. It was his heart.”