Real-life Hostess “junkies” are rejoicing the triumphant return of the spongy yellow creme log. Today, Hostess Brands officially revives the iconic snack cake, following a seven-month hiatus after the original company decided to liquidate under bankruptcy. The confection maker will put Twinkies, CupCakes and Ding Dongs in stores across the U.S. Given Twinkies’ pop-culture status, Hostess’s return was in little doubt even in pop culture fame. Remember in the movie “Zombieland,” Woody Harrelson had to slay three of the undead to get his hands on a Twinkie.
Apollo Global Management LLC and Dean Metropoulos & Co. came to Hostess’s rescue last year, paying as much as $410 million for the name. The new owners have resumed production, planned a fifth factory and expanded distribution. The Metropoulos family, always eager to milk a marketing opportunity, dubbed the revival the “sweetest comeback in the history of ever.” Last week, retailers scrambled to catch the latest Hostess wave. Grocer Albertson’s said on its website July 10 it was putting a “secret stash” of “Hostess gold” on sale early at select stores while supplies lasted. Kroger Co. also began selling the cakes in some stores, and they were available in a majority of Wal-Mart’s U.S. stores yesterday. Hostess said it hadn’t given any retailers permission to sell its products before today.
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 food truck is visiting county fairs, music festivals and other locations. Hostess has an ambitious new business strategy in place for Twinkies: “to be sold wherever candy bars are sold,” Seban said. “We want to capitalize on the nostalgia of the brand, but we also want to make sure we’re relevant to this generation and not just the generations of the past.” Twinkie marketers are entertaining proposals to sell the treats at sports stadiums, with continental breakfasts at hotels, at movie theater concession stands and on cruise ships. And, the company has plans in the works to update its snack cake line to include products that are more appealing to younger consumers, lighter on the calories and possibly gluten free. Don’t rule out new treats flavored with peanut butter or packaged in bite-sized portions, said executives at Hostess. How will you get Twinkie-inized? Let us know and as always stay #TopRight.