So, let’s get this straight: parent company allegedly goes out of business, production stops, there’s public outcry for a treat that was mostly dormant in the snack world. Then an investor is found, company resurges with a huge push towards the tagline of “The Sweetest Comeback in the History of…Ever.” Wow. That’s classic Marketing 101.
Have we all been hoodtwinked?
Eight months ago, Hostess shut down abruptly amid labor and financial woes and “the public” went bonkers. But when’s the last time you — yes, YOU; we’re getting personal around here — ate a Twinkie? Once the darling of every kids’ lunchbox and brown bag, a Twinkie today seems so, well, "Honey Boo Boo" in comparison to the heights reached by today’s treats. American tastes seemed to have evolved beyond the forever food wrapped in cellophane. We graduated to red velvet-mania, fancy cupcakes, mini pops, even taking a liking to macarons and French hybrids like the cronut, doughsants, and a half a dozen other names for this new mashup. We’re constantly onto the next best thing, the next sweet thing, seeking the perfect treat to tempt us on queue for hours, simply to be amongst the first to sample a new calorie-laden culprit. We tweet and Instagram our feats into cyber culture history, or right onto Craigslist compete with a nice little “for sale” toothpick stuck on top. And yet, we await this Twinkie drop with baited breath.
There’s nothing too terribly sexy about corporate buyouts, restructures or take-overs; they happen every day. Private equity firms Apollo Global Management and Metropoulous & Co., struck a $410 million deal with Hostess Brands when it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy…and struck gold with their marketing team. To herald the comeback of Twinkies, the Kansas City, Mo., company’s new owners are spending “several million dollars” on a marketing blitz using social media, Vine videos, billboards, building walls and a website called Prepare Your CakeFace. Street teams are handing out T-shirts and “I Saved the Twinkie” buttons. A Hostess food truck is visiting county fairs, music festivals and other locations. That truck was tracked live on national morning television the day of the re-launch, as the "TODAY Show" counted down the arrival of the golden spongecake to the New York area, tossing wrapped treats to the crowds gathered in Gotham’s midtown.
This is either pure American nostalgia “WINNING!” as Charlie Sheen would say, or it’s all a part of Hostess’ (genius) bigger plan: to revive a 94-year-old brand, resuscitate its’ relevance, and see it rise from the proverbial ashes of the Snack Graveyard. Hmmmm. Either way, if riding an emotional or economic trend rakes in a ROI that eclipses $410M, we know who the real winners will be.
Hostess Twinkies are now back on shelves across the country. Look for brand extensions such as individual sizes, assorted flavors and even gluten-free options to come soon. www.hostesscakes.com
(from reports by The Chicago Tribune, ABC News and NBC Universal)