Last Rites for Hostess. Once the cream filling of the American Dream.
November 20, 2012
Before Starbucks. Before Sprinkles. Before fancy bakeries and ultra-lux cupcakes became part of the urban landscape there was Hostess. Fondly, we remember when Mom put Ding Dongs and Twinkies into our Star Wars lunch boxes. You haven’t lived until you peel the delectable icing off a Hostess Cup Cake and nibble around its intensely sweet edges. Yum. That shit was hella good.
And now it’s hella gone. Hostess, that venerable icon of dubiously wholesome American snacks is going out of business. The party line was another crippling strike in its supply chain did it in. But that was merely insult to injury, an injury no distribution strategy could ever have solved: indifference.
The plain truth is America moved on. Snacks became fancy and fresh. Hostess was neither. Indeed, we all know the urban myth about Twinkies having an indefinite shelf life. The joke is not so funny now. Even grade school children began demanding more from their moms and from the 7-11 down the street. Why eat a pre-fab sponge cake when you could have a real one? Why have sponge cake at all?
Like TV dinners and Chicken Pot Pies, Hostess became hopeless. No child, even the offspring of the grungiest parents, could resist the plethora of modern marvels now available on every corner, in airports, on Facebook.
Which brings us to Hostess marketing… or lack of it. For whatever reason Hostess stopped making ads a long time ago. While other retro brands like Nestle and Mars kept up with the times, doing evermore slick and even hip ad campaigns for their products -Snickers and Skittles create some of the coolest ads on TV- Hostess did nothing. I can’t recall the last time I saw a commercial for Hostess Twinkies. Even Woody Harrelson’s obsession for them in the hit movie, Zombieland could not reanimate this corpse.
Where were the social media campaigns? The videos? The Facebook pages? After all, if you can’t do something rad with a Ding Dong what can you do? Hostess went dark on their products and now they are paying the ultimate price.
Yes, Hostess products were grossly unhealthy. But at one point they were the cream filling to the American Dream. And now the funeral bells toll: Ding Dong, Din Dong.