The Return of the Twinkie, As Imagined By Branding Experts

Twinkies return to shelves this summer, thanks to a pair of private equity firms that bought the brand after Hostess went bankrupt last year. Branding experts serve up three ways to reintroduce the classic, notorious snack:

Play up its indulgence

"Everyone’s become a label leader; everyone’s rushing to his kale salad. I actually think it would be a mistake for Twinkies to make any claim that it has any redeeming health characteristics."
—Chris Raih, founder, Zambezi Agency

Promote its scarcity

"It’s rare when a brand that’s been around for years goes away, so they can have fun with how they roll it back out. Maybe they’re available in only one city. Think about Krispy Kreme."
—Reid Holmes, EVP, Campbell Mithun

Embrace the nostalgia

"Maybe Twinkies becomes the brand that tries to save all those generational experiences, from Silly Putty and Slinky to the five-and-dime and soda shop. It’d be a shame for a generation not to know those things."
—Susan Credle, CCO, Leo Burnett U.S.A

[Illustrations by Jasper Wong (twinkies)]

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  • robjday

    I think Susan has it right.  The reason everyone flipped when Twinkie took off was because they felt like they were losing a part of their past.  How many people that rushed to the stores that month (week?) had bought a Twinkie in the last year?  Nostalgia is a powerful tool and cyclical.  

    I could also see nostalgia combined with Reid's idea of Scarcity.  Perhaps the communication and imagery have a nostalgic feel to them, but the physical roll out is painfully slow.  "Twinkie is fighting his way back"

    However it is done I think the more interesting question will be how to sustain and grow it going forward. No matter what strategy they go with when Twinkie returns there will be a run on them.  But will people forget again in 6 months? a year?

  • Steven P. Katkov, Esq.

    Scarcity would be more effectively achieved by making Twinkies a seasonal phenomenon. Think Girl Scout Cookies.

  • CorryJoe

    I think the scarcity angle is a favorite!  I've never been a huge Twinkie eater, but all this buzz about them has me craving one.  I'd feel even more satisfied biting into one if I felt lucky to get it.