The Twinkies Comeback: is nostalgia enough?

This July, prepare for the "sweetest comeback in the history of ever." Same yellow cake, same creamy filling, same price even. But can fond memories alone prompt a rush of buying?

Remember when Hostess Brands filed for bankruptcy in 2012? Think back farther: remember your first cream-filled, spongy cake? I do. It was a Ding Dong at a lakeside picnic in Los Angeles.

On July 15, the rescued snack company will relaunch Ding Dongs, Twinkies, Ho Hos, and several others -- and it hopes that fond memories will prompt a rush of buying, Bloomberg Businessweek reports.

Shelves across the country will be restocked with the same yellow, cream-filled cakes. (Even the price, $3.99 for a box of 10, will be the same.) The biggest change for now is a new tag line for the entire Hostess line: “The Sweetest Comeback in the History of Ever.”

Over 400,000 people have thumbs-upped the site on Facebook, among them many of the consumers who swarmed into stores to stock up when a Twinkie extinction was feared, Los Angeles Times reports. Here's the countdown.

These snacks are indeed iconic, though the decision to leave them largely unchanged is interesting for a company that has been criticized for failing to innovate as other classic brands such as Clorox and Campbell Soup have successfully evolved.

"America wanted Hostess back -- they wanted the original,” said Daren Metropoulos of C. Dean Metropoulous & Co., which along with Apollo Global Management, picked up several Hostess names this spring for $410 million. “A comeback by any other name could never be as sweet."

He adds: “Innovation... will be a key part of our strategy moving forward.” They’ll be looking to expand their product line in ways that'll “keep it fresh, relevant, and in-line with evolving consumer preferences.”

As for Twinkies’ marketing and rebranding, Rich Seban of Hostess Brands said that the company has “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to leverage the firm’s inherent nostalgia and, at the same time, return to shelves with a new attitude that’s bolder and even more relevant to today’s consumers.”

He also said there are many trendy health attributes the company could tap into, such as gluten-free, added fiber, low sugar, and low sodium.

[Via Businessweek, Los Angeles Times]

Image: sekimura via Flickr

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