Ad of the Day: Big Lots Gets Moms Dancing for Twinkies in Wacky Campaign

New retail gamble by ex-Kmart CMO

Headshot of Tim Nudd

Thanks to sugar, savings or both, Big Lots—and its suddenly endless supply of reduced-price Hostess products—just makes moms want to dance.

Big Lots recently struck a deal to become the "Official Hostess Thrift Outlet," replacing Hostess Thrift Stores, which were closed when Hostess Brands went into bankruptcy in 2012. Beginning today, you'll be able to get Twinkies, CupCakes, Zingers, Fruit Pies and other Hostess snack cakes at Big Lots for up to 40 percent off.

To celebrate, the closeout retailer has released two quirky new ads from new Chicago agency O'Keefe Reinhard & Paul (OKRP).

The first shows moms in colorful exercise gear doing a little synchronized shopping for Hostess goodies at a Big Lots store, as a goofy but catchy dance track plays. The second features some young people in a car performing an a cappella ode to Hostess products. The hashtag for the campaign is #thriftisback.

This is just the beginning of a whole new marketing approach for Big Lots, says chief customer officer Andrew Stein, who orchestrated Kmart's recent move into more provocative marketing while he was CMO there.

"Big Lots is at a transformational point, and we are looking for our advertising to enable us to react quickly to market-driven products that we bring to our customers at a moment's notice," Stein said in a statement. "We saw that opportunity when we became the official Thrift Outlet for Hostess. OKRP delivered and executed with a humorous campaign that will connect with our customers. This is the first of many such initiatives to follow."

The two videos "are emblematic of the kind of quick-to-market, impact-driven and unexpected work that we are doing for clients who need to turn around campaigns yesterday," said Tom O'Keefe, CEO of OKRP (which is minority owned by Interpublic Group). "With retail, your idea has to work in real time. That model works for marketers across industries. We structured our agency to fill this growing need for efficiently produced, creatively driven work that drives results quickly."


Client: Big Lots

Chief Customer Officer: Andrew Stein

Broadcast Manager, Producer: Thomas Clark

Marketing Manager: Katherine Reda

Agency: O'Keefe Reinhard & Paul

Creative Director: Matt Reinhard

Director Creative Services: Sue Gillan

Writers: Cooper Johnson, Vinny DeGaetano, Aaron Fronk

Executive Producer: Scott Mitchell

Senior Account Executive: Christina Chonody

Production: AdDigital

Director: Jeff Jenkins

Executive Producers: Tom Mooney, Dan Klein

Editorial: Whiskey & Bananas Studio

Editor: Jeff Jenkins

Music: Beacon Street

Composers: John Nau, Andrew Feltenstein

Producer: Caitlin Rocklen

Choreographer: Chantal Robson

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.