The Sweetest Comeback In The History Of Ever.™

After liquidating in 2013, Hostess was left for dead. Five months later, I had the privilege of authoring the campaign that resurrected Twinkies and CupCakes. It was a ridiculous amount of work in a short amount of time, and the stakes were high. This nostalgic brand, popular only amongst older moms, needed to reach a younger audience to survive. So we made a play in major markets to generate buzz. And turned that buzz into national awareness with an aggressive social media and digital campaign.
Three weeks before products hit shelves, we launched a digital destination to gin up excitement. We asked consumers to tweet Vine and Instagram videos of themselves stretching their mouths and contorting their faces to prepare for the return. Using the hashtag #cakeface we aggregated the content and featured it on this continuously scrolling site along with a live countdown to launch. VISIT SITE

Street Teams
#Cakeface quickly began trending on Vine. So to continue feeding the social engine, we sent street teams to major markets. They posted guerrilla signage, passed out #cakeface shirts, stamped hands with the #cakeface tag, and conducted “Mouth Yoga” classes in highly populated areas.

Wall Scapes
When consumers looked up from the street team entertainment, they saw for the first time the actual date Twinkies and CupCakes would return. They immediately began sharing the news by Instagramming, Tweeting and Facebooking photos of these massive displays in NYC, Chicago and LA.

To amplify the buzz, we reactivated 8 different social channels and exploded with an array of original Hostess content.

Key Influencers
We created VIP packages containing the first batch of Twinkies and sent it to a list of key influencers. Within five minutes of this tweet from Snoop Dogg, Hostess had about 3,000 new Instagram followers.

On July 15, 2013, we launched The Sweetest Comeback In The History Of Ever.™ With Al Roker riding shotgun, the Hostess Twinkie truck made its first delivery on The NBC Today Show. Double decker tourist busses in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles were turned into giant sponge cakes. And the Hostess wallscapes around the country changed from the teaser message to the campaign tagline.

Bus Domination

Today Show

Hotel Fig in LA
On the web, we created a Snack Spotting app for hungry consumers. Utilizing the Google Maps API, the interactive experience let users “spot” where they had seen Hostess products. The heat map also featured geo-located tweets, to show the Hostess-related buzz all across the country. VISIT SITE

Epic Twinkie
To mark the magnitude of the occasion, we built a 48-foot-long, 2,000 lb. Twinkie in Hostess' home market. Was it structurally sound? The engineer was 90% sure.

Truck Tour
To sustain the hunger, the Hostess Snack Truck embarked on a nationwide tour, hitting pop culture events in 15 different markets. The street teams onboard passed out “Sweetest Comeback” shirts, “I saved the Twinkie” buttons, and of course, Hostess Twinkies.

Some Results
Produced on a minimal budget, the campaign was valued at over $50 million based on media impressions. Twinkie sales increased 185% Year Over Year. #Cakeface was a national trend on Vine with users spending an average of 4 minutes on the site. "Snack Spotting" on received over 109k unique visits on launch day alone. And on Facebook, Hostess saw a 25% increase in fans in the 18-34 age demo.

©2018 Matt Bowne