Hostess Finds Sweet Spot between Traditional and New Media

If you listen closely, you can almost hear the collective cries of joy coming from snack lovers nationwide. That’s because the Twinkie is back.

After a short hiatus due to Hostess Brands declaring bankruptcy, the iconic snack is back on shelves this week. Hostess sold its cake business to two private equity firms — Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co. — who resurrected the 83-year-old snack cake.

There’s a lot of nostalgia associated with Twinkies. But in the age of the gluten-free everything and juice cleanses, Twinkies don’t offer much (anything?) in the way of nutrition. That’s why, according to branding expert Rob Frankel, the new target market for Twinkies is young males.

In advance of the triumphant return of the Twinkie, Hostess embraced both traditional and new marketing methods to spread the word and tap into this new audience.

Billboards in Times Square, Los Angeles and Kansas City, Missouri, feature giant images of Twinkies and CupCakes with the relaunch date 7.15.13.

Street teams in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago passed out T-shirts and buttons, telling fans to “Prepare Your Cake Face.”

Fans have been encouraged to share their own “cake face” via Instagram and Vine. Some of these shots are featured on

Hostess has been working around the clock, tweeting, facebook-ing, pinning and instagram-ing the “sweetest comeback in the history of ever.” They’ve engaged with fans and followers, answering their questions, sharing their photos, and tapping into decades of nostalgia. They created a conversation and made their fans feel valued. And that’s about the easiest way to create brand loyalty.

On the day of the Twinkies relaunch, the co-hosts of the Today Show chowed down on the treats. They celebrated with Twinkie the Kid, the Twinkie Truck and, of course, hundreds of Twinkies.

It would be easy for this historic brand to assume that word of mouth would get the job done. But Hostess knows that bringing a brand back from the dead is one of the most difficult types of marketing. They got aggressive and innovative, and the campaign has paid off. The Twinkie is here to stay — and I’m not just talking about its infinite shelf life…

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