All those tears shed. All those boxes bought.
Many were upset to learn last year that business troubles (the workers blamed the management, the management blamed the unions) were pushing Twinkies off of store shelves. Attempts to restructure ended in November and brands were sold. Twinkies was among those that went to Metropoulos & Co. and Apollo Global Management for $410 million.
Less than a year after fans grieved the loss of those eternally fresh spongy yellow cakes, they’re headed back to the grocer on July 15.
According to the AP (via USA Today), Twinkies will be back with a new tagline: “The Sweetest Comeback In The History Of Ever.” The companies know they have a strong brand and they’re clearly relaunching with a campaign that will make a big statement. (We took a quick look at the website to see if there’s mention of a PR firm working with the campaign. Right now, there’s just countdown clock.)
The new owners also have a stake in fast food chains Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s which, the AP points out, opens the door to cross-promotion. Moreover, other products are being tweaked and considered — gluten-free treats? — now that the factories are getting back to work. Sidebar: the article points out, Twinkies expire after 45 days. It’ll be interesting to see if that factors into the campaign at all.
It’ll also be interesting to see how the campaign combines nostalgia with a focus on the future. There were concerns before the big shut down that Hostess hadn’t done enough to keep up with changing tastes. So they can’t just rely on consumers’ memories in their relaunch. There will have to be some appeal for fresh taste buds.
On a sour note, 15,000 unionized workers lost their jobs when Hostess halted production. Some have gotten their jobs back, but they’re no longer union members.