Last week Hostess announced that they were shutting down operations due to an inability to reach an agreement with the bakers union. Immediately following this announcement there was a Its a Wonderful Life run on every awful/awesome product they made. Some people bid up to $10,000 on eBay for some of the last (doubtful they’ll actually ever pay that) but a buzz was created.
There are very few products that completely disappear forever, especially when they are a long standing part of American culture. When I think of Twinkies, I think of a story my brother told me about meeting the late Ted Kennedy. Ted, being the politician he was, asked my brother, a regular joe, what he’d like to see the government do with his tax dollars. My brother said that he’d heard about a supercollider project that had lost it’s funding but he had a theory that could only be proven with it so he would like to see it regain their funding again. His theory he explained was, if you brought two Twinkies up to the speed of light and smashed them together, he believed that the cake would pass through each other intact, but the creme would somehow become radioactive. Ted quickly left the room but for a moment, two people of very different upbringings were about to find a common denominator in a Twinkie.
Although that story is quite off topic, it shows that at sometime in most American’s lives, a Hostess product has been consumed, and it was probably pretty good. When they announced that they were halting production those cakes gained a place of priority because if the opportunity was missed, chances are you might not get that chance again. It’s the model of any timed deal thats currently advertised, we know it might happen again, but if it doesn’t, we don’t want to be the ones that missed out.
There was a slim chance that even if Hostess did go out of business that we would never see Twinkies again, but by reinvigorating the market, they increased the value of their assets if and when it was time to sell them, if they did work out an agreement and restarted the lines, their market awareness is now through the roof.
A strategic and genius marketing plan.