There's been a lot of buzz in the last week about the beloved Twinkie ... I think we love it more than we realized. Hostess announced that it is closing down operations after that appears to be a long struggle. So people are coming out in droves to #SaveTheTwinkie.
As I have said many times before, this is brand equity in action. Years of emotions and memories, pouring out of a Hostess HoHo. When people see one of their favorite products potentially come to an end, we often see the "branding" come back to life.
I don't know much about the story, but evidently the Company is blaming the Union for having to close. While that might be true today, I do find that a little hard to believe over the long haul ... partly because many of the people who are screaming #SaveTheTwinkie have not had one in years.
The Company was certainly quick to shut down their website too, with a statement that points to the Union. But I have to imagine that consumer demand is down, way down. To me, that would be the reason for the financial crisis with the Company. They need to keep up. If they want consumers to stick with the brand, then they need to evolve their brands to meet changing needs.
I too think the products are adorable and are every bit a part of Americana, but I have not actually bought one in probably thirty years either. If that's the norm, there's no way that a company could survive with or without a union involved.
The lesson learned here is that when you have a set of amazing brands, you need to nourish them and keep them actively a part of the culture, keeping up with consumer needs so that demand and affinity keep growing.
On the flip side, though, there is also a huge opportunity for someone to come in and actually #SaveTheTwinkie. Wouldn't that be a fun project to reinvent those iconic brands ... or maybe that was the plan all along.
What's your experience? Jim.
President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
Author, The Experience Effect series
Marketing Professor, NYU