Is this an Internet marketing story? Not yet but it will be.
Why you ask? Well, there was considerable consternation last year when Hostess filed for bankruptcy and the iconic snack ‘food’ was being discontinued. Admittedly I was bothered at the time even though I probably had not eaten a Twinkie in over 20 years (although if I found some in my pantry from 20 years ago they would still be ready to eat which is pretty cool ). Well, in what will be an interesting study in the power of a brand, and the Internetm it looks like Twinkies are coming back in July.
The brand will need to do something other than just show up as Adweek points out
When Hostess Twinkies return to store shelves next month, they’ll epitomize one of branding’s rarest feats: a return from the dead. But while the snack’s resurgence (courtesy of a $410 million fire-sale buyout by Apollo Global Management) will doubtless make snack hounds happy, the legendary brand still has its work cut out for it. Indeed, according to observers, after the hoopla fades, Twinkies may well face a kind of branding Catch-22. Hardcore fans aren’t enough in number to sustain the snack food in perpetuity, while its troublesome nutrition label (220 mg of sodium in one cake?) may well be a hard sell for younger, health-conscious buyers. So while today’s story is that Twinkies are back, tomorrow’s may well be: How long will they stay?
What will be interesting to watch is if the Internet and its unique ability to make something as kitschy as Twinkies cool again can actually be utilized to overcome the many hurdles that face the brand in much different world than how it grew up.
Let’s face it, Twinkies aren’t exactly at the top of the list of health conscious foods. Never was and never will be. Add that to the fact that the idea of a “Twinkie Lite” is oxymoronic and marketers are paddling upstream at best once the unique nature of the comeback wears off.
So what can they do? Adweek continues
Bernstein-Rein [Hostess' agency of record] is quite aware of this fact, planning some sweeping changes in Twinkieland. Starting with a new tagline on the box, “The sweetest comeback in the history of ever,” Lubeck promises that his agency will “leverage the nostalgia associated with the Hostess brand and, at the same time, reintroduce it with a voice that’s more contemporary and an attitude that’s bolder and more relevant to today’s consumers.” What’s that mean? A full array of digital, social media, guerrilla and traditional advertising efforts, including a Vine video-sharing effort built on the theme of “Prepare Your Cakeface.”
Don’t worry Twinkies! The Internet will make you cool again! This is going to be interesting to watch.
What what you do if were the voice of the Twinkie brand as it rises like a phoenix out of the ashes of a business disaster? Me personally, I would be working to bring back another part of the brand and work “The Adventures of Twinkie the Kid” pretty hard. Who wouldn’t like a spongy little cowboy traveling the world and giving sugar shock to the whole world? The options are endless aren’t they?