Friday, November 16, 2012


First of all, as The Atlantic's Jordan Weissman notes, Twinkies aren't dead, even though Hostess is bankrupt:
First: Twinkie, Wonder, and all the other high-calorie marvels of culinary science Hostess sells aren't going to disappear from shelves for good. One of its competitors will likely swoop in, buy them up, and restart production. So you can stop bidding on $100 boxes of Sno Balls on eBay.
Beyond that, I urge you to read his post, or a long Fortune story he cites from this past July -- you'll realize that Hostess went under not just because of the unions (as the entire right-wing blogosphere believes), but also because of bad management:
Suffice to say, Hostess didn't do much growing. It continued to lose hundreds of millions of dollars making and selling starchy snacks that much of the public had lost its taste for, while failing to launch any great new products.
I'd add this:
... Adam Hanft, a brand strategist and CEO of Hanft Projects, says ... "There's a lot that Twinkies has going for it that has never been exploited."

If the company is selling off its brands to the highest bidder, says Hanft, someone savvy could could easily swoop in and take advantage of Twinkies' brand recognition and make it profitable. "I think that there is something cool and retro about the brand that can be tapped into, I think it can be a hipper brand for millennials because it is so iconic, and frankly, it is so unhealthy."

Basically, skinny jeans wearing, bacon and pork belly eating, hipster millennials obsessed with mid-century modern post-war cool - - well, they might be into Twinkies, too.
Plausible? I think so. I think you could easily make these damn things so-unhip-they're-hip, or do "ironic" or "artisanal" or healthier or massively less healthy variants on the classic products to attract the hipoisie's attention. C'mon, marketing geniuses -- think! That never happened.


Victor said...

Archie Bunker, just mentioning Twinkies, sent sales through the roof!

Imagine some product placement on Mad Men, or that woman selling marijuana show on Showtime, on TV?

Or, how about James Bond stuffing one in the villain's mouth, to gag him/her?

Create a new Superhero - "Twinkie Man!"
No, never mind, that won't work. What would eating a Twinkie do for a Superhero, besides raise his cholesterol, fat content, and blood sugar.

Danp said...

Twinkies should be the ultimate metaphor for sugar-high capitalism. An unhealthy product that gives immediate but fleeting pleasure. Looks good but is unhealthy. Stagnant, non-innovative mega-corp that can't balance its books for many years. Debt relief through government interference that benefits management and board members at the expense of investors and suppliers. And now they're down to their good-will assets and "intellectual property", which will be exploited by vulture capitalists at the expense of suckers who have imperfect memories of their perfect childhoods.

Adrian Browne said...

A product with a name as recognizable as Twinkie won't disappear. Another company (a smaller company perhaps with a regional reach) will buy the "recipe" and produce them -- the same is true of Polaroid film and dozens of other products.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and when you're trying to cut costs, don't triple the CEO's salary.