Mid November, Americans were faced with a horrible prospect – the liquidation of an iconic American food brand: Hostess Brands Inc. Worse still was the prospect of life without Hostess Brands’ marquee product, the Twinkie. [for the uninitiated, a Twinkie is a ‘golden sponge cake with a creamy filling]
The announcement received huge media attention and was covered heavily by breaking news outlets, mainstream media, business publications and of course, social media.
On Wednesday, November 22, Judge Robert Drain, who vehemently opposed the liquidation of the 82-year-old company, gave the preliminary ascent for Hostess to liquidate its assets, sending Americans into an uproar over the thought of never being able to enjoy their beloved Twinkies again.
The legendary brand tweeted “Sorry to announce Hostess Brands has been forced to close operations due to the Bakers Union Strike http://t.co/eHtxaNVs”
Political arguments aside, by blaming the liquidation on the union, Hostess was able to use social media to redirect the conversation to its advantage, providing an example from which other consumer brands can learn. In the days leading up to the announcement of the halted operations, Hostess simply tweeted about how great its products were and set its Twitter background to say “If you love it so much, why don’t you tweet about it?”
America responded. Commentary immediately boomed on social media imagining what life would be like without the Twinkie; better yet for Hostess, about how the Baker’s Union was at fault for the demise of the company. Hostess was able to leverage its social media to sway public opinion on a highly political topic and the high-profile loss of 18,000 jobs.
Consumer brands can use this example to show how powerful social media can be in directing public opinion. Unfortunately for Hostess, it looks like the public could not sway the Baker’s Union, as the company is continuing forward with the liquidation of its assets. (Sadly, it seems the ‘hostess without the mostess’ is set to be gone in the twinkie of an eye…)