Monday, November 19, 2012

Iconic Twinkies and Ding-Dongs vanish from store shelves...

Hello once more! I was stunned when I visited three different locations today and seen the racks of Hostess items virtually gone from the shelves. I visited a local Wal*Mart, a local UDF, a Speedway, and a local grocery store...and in each location the shelves which had been lined with Hostess products 2 days ago were almost completely empty. There were a few left-over items in three of the locations and so I picked up something from each store. Chances are you'll never see these items again, except on nostalgia sites that cater to advertising from the past, and so I wanted to take a few pictures of what could be the last Hostess snack cakes available in my area. There's all kinds of rumors about other companies buying the Hostess name and continuing it but it's hard to tell what will happen and so for now Hostess products in my area have vanished pretty much. I asked a worker at Speedway if someone from Hostess had come by during the overnight hours and packed up everything and she said that people were buying them like crazy. Boxes of Twinkies and Ding-Dongs and individually wrapped Ho-Ho's and fruit pies were literally wiped from the shelves of that particular fuel station. The only things they had left with a Hostess logo were a few sacks of miniature muffins but the iconic snack cakes were gone.

These particular snacks are rounded cream filled cup cakes with a coconut and marshmallow topping. My mother once had an appetite for these in their original color. For whatever reason she never wanted to try the pink, green, or orange colored versions even though to me they all tasted the same. I don't think there ever were any animated commercials for the Suzy Q or the Sno Ball. While it's true that other companies have their versions of these snack cakes I happen to feel that the reason why there's a segment of the population somewhat unhappy to see the brand disappear is tied directly to nostalgia and childhood. As I mentioned in a previous blog entry, the animated commercials for the Hostess brand of snack cakes appeared on television for multiple decades and they were permanent features in comic books for multiple decades. So, as corny or baffling as it may sound to those who consider themselves hipper and healthier than everyone else, something like a brand name vanishing from the marketplace is quite capable of being emotive for a lot of people. Even more important are the thousands of jobs being lost.

One of my least favorite Fruit Pie variants is peach...but that was all that was left remaining at a local UDF store. The apple, blueberry, cherry, and lemon fruit pies were gone. My personal favorite was the blueberry and rated just behind that was the apple and then the cherry and then the lemon. There were other products from Hostess in the same design filled with a chocolate pudding product that I liked, on occasion. Again, this may sound baffling to many, but you almost had to be in a mood for certain snack cakes. I was always in the mood for blueberry but if there happened to be a cherry fruit pie sitting around and next to it was a twinkie, well, depending on the mood I'd choose one or the other. Some people may eat whatever regardless but if I wasn't in the mood for a twinkie then I'd not eat it. By the way, the chocolate and the yellow cup cakes were nowhere to be found in any of the stores I went to, either. I was less of a consumer of those cup cakes. I came across the mascot for the chocolate cupcake while doing a Google image search. You can easily Google these snack cakes and find the mascots that I've written about. In the previous blog entry I included links to various Hostess commercials that I came across on You Tube.

The Hostess Snack...Will It Come Back?

Admittedly I hadn't looked too heavily into the current Hostess situation where there's talk about the end of their snack cake line of foods that have been available for several generations. I remember as a kid seeing advertisements for most of their products in illustrated form in comic books and on television by way of commercials. I think anyone aged 35 and older remember those advertisements. If you walk into any shopping store or fuel station you're bound to come across a display stand of Hostess products. Whether you're a regular consumer of Hostess products or if you've purchased any number of their products at some point through the decades it's always been your choice. The products are snack cakes, donuts, and any number of other sweet pastries.

As most people who are familiar with my blog entries are well aware I am not a fan of political correctness or pushy health food junkies. There was once a novelty song called "Junkfood Junkie" that became a big hit. Does anyone wonder why there's never been a big hit called "Healthfood Junkie"? Junk food, of course, is a kind of broad term applied to any food not considered 'healthy' by doctors and others in the medical profession. Ironically, junk food is what makes the world go around. A statistic that drives health food advocates nuts is when fast food restaurants, who also carry a health food menu, see the biggest profits with "junk food" instead of with salad or yogurt sales. The people, as a whole, choose to bypass health had never been a case of a fast food restaurant not offering it. If people want healthier food they'll seek it out but they'll have a difficult time finding places that offer it exclusively because, well, as I mentioned, junk food turns a stronger profit and health food doesn't.

However, this blog entry isn't meant to beat up on the politically correct or the health food advocates, as much as I usually would when I write about these topics. I do want to point out that Hostess and it's looming departure as a business, an employer, and a brand shouldn't be celebrated.

The inspiration for me to write this particular blog entry came when I read an article posted on my Facebook page. The article referenced NPR and various liberal leftists celebrating the Hostess situation. The article can be found Here. It comes from the NewsBusters web-page by a blogger/writer named Tim Graham.

Whenever any health food store or any business that makes such products goes out of business do you see the so-called junk food junkies celebrating the demise of a health food company? No! So, explain to me why it is that health food advocates feel it necessary to celebrate a "junk food" supplier falling on tough times. It's a rhetorical question, of course, but it shows the tasteless nature of the elitists. In their eyes all they see is a villainous "junk food" empire shutting down...they apparently don't care about the thousands of workers who'll be out of a job. In the economy of 2012 and the double digit unemployment that's plagued the country over the last 3+ years the last thing you should be doing is laughing and celebrating. As mentioned earlier, I recall seeing Hostess animated commercials and advertisements in comic books. These commercials utilized animated/illustrated mascots that I'm sure most people of my age bracket and older will remember. The Twinkie snack cake was drawn as a Wrangler while the Ding-Dong was drawn to spoof royalty under the name of King Ding-Dong. Those were the two "mascots" that I remember the most in those commercials...but then I came across the fruit pie mascot and I remember him, too, on the packages of the Fruit Pie's. On You Tube you can find almost everything and I came across a TV commercial with the elusive King Ding-Dong from 1971. I also posted several links to other Hostess commercials. I'm posting links because video embeds take up more space. I'm not going to stop posting embedded video content but I decided that posting links to the commercials, rather than large video embeds, would maybe load up quicker for those with slower computers.

I called King Ding-Dong elusive because publicity for the mascot and the snack cake itself dwindled significantly as the '80s gave way to the '90s and the overbearing strict regulations put on advertisers when it came to children.

These links all should open up in a new window each time you click so that you won't be taken away from the blog page.

1971 Hostess Commercial

Fruit Pie Commercial

Ho Ho Commercial

1985 Twinkie Commercial

I uploaded the 1985 commercial because it's got to be one of the last commercials to feature the animated Twinkie mascot. The animated commercials had been running on television for more than a decade by the time the 1985 advertisement aired. The mascot, known as Twinkie the Kid, appears less boisterous in comparison to an earlier point in time. Maybe with him being an animated mascot he realized that he, along with the other animated Hostess mascots, would be heading for the last animated roundup in the near future...and not even Fruit Pie the Magician could magically keep it from happening. The Twinkie and Fruit Pie mascots continued to appear on the boxes and packages of the products each represented for many more years after the animated commercial hey-day ended. Twinkie the Kid was still shown on the products as recently as 2012 but research shows the Fruit Pie mascot disappeared 5 years ago.