It’s probably not fair to blame the fall of Hostess, maker of the Twinkie and thirty other brands, on marketing. There were numerous reasons why it was in and out of bankruptcy for years until the bakers union strike took the final bite out of the company.
Still, you don’t need to cut people’s pay and benefits if you are making tons of money. And if you have a product people love, and good marketing… you will make money. You could say that times have changed and that Twinkies aren’t exactly the healthiest of snacks, but what about Oreos? Double Stuf Oreos? Healthy?
Some of you may remember that I previously posted on my Facebook page about how much I love the Oreo page. After I heard about the demise of the Twinkie, I thought it might be interesting to compare the wonderful Facebook campaign for Oreos (over 30 million likes) with the one for Twinkies. Or more precisely, the one that Hostess never did for Twinkies.
Aside from the mentions of Twinkies on the Hostess page (404,000 likes), here are the Twinkies pages I’ve been able to find:
Twinkies Auto-Generated Facebook Page with Wikipedia Entry (71,000 likes)
Twinkies Community Page (25,524 likes)
Twinkie (9600 likes)
There are also some recent pages like R.I.P. Twinkies 11/16/12
What a mess! This is a product that has a lot of interest from users of social media, but Hostess never made an effort to direct all this traffic to a single brand page… and then build it up. They wasted an incredible opportunity to market their product. Interestingly, Hostess did do a Wonderbread Page (29,510 likes)
While Nabisco-then-Kraft-now-Mondelez went to town with the Oreo, they haven’t ignored their other brands, like Ritz Crackers (911,000), Triscuit (509,000), and Chips Ahoy! (838,000). Recently Mondelez embarked on a very special campaign to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the brand. They created a campaign called a “Daily Twist,” which they posted each day to Oreo’s Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest Pages, in addition to Oreo.com. Each whimsical graphic focused on an event of the day, like the Mars Landing, Elvis Week, Gangnam Style, Carmageddon 2, The Refs Return, all submitted by their fans, and memorialized in Oreos. The campaign encountered controversy with their gay pride day “Twist.” The image of a six-level cookie colored like a rainbow went viral, with 14,800 shares and 87,000 likes, but there were some anti-gay people who said they wouldn’t eat any more Kraft products, displaying an ignorance of the company that owns Oreos along with their intolerance. There also were complaints from people who were upset that Mondelez wasn’t going to be selling six-layered Oreos.
The campaign culminated on October 2nd with the final ad created in a temporary ad agency on Broadway and 46th Street in Times Square. The ad was created in real time from submissions made in person and on social media during the morning The three finalists were put up on a billboard and on Facebook so that the fans could vote.
So there you have it: a tremendous amount of energy and creativity invested by Mondelez in social media on the Oreos brand, resulting in over 30 million likes on Facebook, and a tsunami of attention through social media. Whereas with Hostess you had no effort and a pathetic Facebook presence.
If Hostess would have worked harder on social media, would it have kept them alive? It’s hard to say, but it sure demonstrates how lazy the people were who were running the place. Maybe if they were paying attention to marketing Twinkies, the bakers wouldn’t have had to take all those cuts.
It’s impossible for me to say how much money Mondelez has made from its social media work with Oreos, because it is a mega-corporation with a zillion brands. But they obviously think it’s worth it, and there’s no question that they have got a ton more people talking and thinking about Oreos through this campaign, as I am right now.
Personally, I must admit that writing this post has made me ravenous for Oreos. And I’m going to feel really good when I buy my next package. Go gay pride!