Consumer Reaction To Hostess Brands Liquidation Proof Of Company's Strong Branding Over The Years

LOS ANGELES , November 20, 2012 () – I can’t begin to tell you how many texts, emails and phone calls I received last Friday from friends and family flipping out over the news that Hostess Brands Inc. was planning to shut its doors. Never mind the fact that these people have probably eaten a combined three Twinkies in the past 15 years. In their minds, a staple of their lives was leaving forever.

Now, obviously things aren’t that cut and dry. If Hostess does indeed begin this liquidation process, one or more major entities will likely purchase the rights to Hostess’ name brands. But it goes to show you just how much power good branding can have on the general public.

Although various media reports have accused Hostess of horrible management, thus putting them in their current position, one can’t deny that the company is forever linked to such products as Twinkies, Wonder Bread and Ding Dongs. These are products that just about every consumer in America have had in their refrigerator at one time or another in their lives. Few companies—food and beverage or any industry—have such an impact.

So it shouldn’t be surprising that the company’s recent announcement to go out of business has had such a strong consumer reaction. There have been numerous news reports of Hostess products flying off the shelves because people are afraid they’ll never see them again, and even some reports of people paying hundreds and thousands of dollars on eBay for Hostess products. And don’t be surprised if the people buying a dozen Ho Hos haven’t had a Ho Ho in this decade. In the end, it’s all about the name.

Hostess may be going away for good, but its brands remain an attractive purchase for any company who wants to pony up the dough. Don’t let Hostess’ financial performance fool you: There’s always money to be found in a good brand name.

Nevin Barich is the Food & Beverage Analyst for Industry Intelligence Inc. At one time or another, he—like just about every American—has partaken in a Hostess Brands product He can be reached at

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