Buying into the hype…
Black Friday is one thing, I will not buy into the pandemonium that surrounds holiday shopping, but when you have an iconic brand like Hostess and all the fond memories that a brand brings back as a kid, that’s when I get sucked into a company’s rich brand history.
When Hostess announced they were going out of business it was like: “yeah yeah, they’ll file bankruptcy like many companies do, restructure and come out stronger than ever.” Well they’ve been in and out of bankruptcy for sometime and finally announced it’s over, they’re checking out and bidding their fond farewell.
What then ensued was absolutely craziness among consumers. In one day (actually not even) Twinkies, Dingdongs and Zingers flew off of the shelves and left point-of-purchase holes in every market on the planet. Not knowing how bad this really was, I drove to our local supermarket to grab a box or two of memories for the heck of it and found the shelves baron, I then visited 4 other stores to the same result. It was like the favorite toy at Christmas that everyone had to have.
So what does one go to find something they can’t get locally? Ebay of course.
There they were, all those sponge cakes that were on your local store shelves hours before hit the web and they were asking insane amounts for them. What use to be a $3.50-$4 box of Twinkies was going for anywhere from $25 to $10,000 for a single box. I couldn’t believe it. I found myself sifting through listings after listings finding the best price and the best quantity, comparing what seemed like a better deal (based upon the recent inflation). What I found were 8 boxes of the golden gems, 80 total Twinkies for $120, I thought, wow what a deal. I pulled the trigger and purchased them. Now what the heck was I going to do with 80 Twinkies? I don’t even like them all that much — but I had to have them for some reason. That sense of urgency, never being made again by Hostess it seemed like it was the right thing to do because of all those great childhood memories associated with the product.
I was feeling a bit of buyers remorse the next day but came to grips with it. I shared my obsessed purchasing story with a few friends, I even went to the extent of walking a buddy through how I found the deal on eBay. As I was walking him through, I found another deal “as an example” 10 boxes for $130. I said “this is how you bid the right way on eBay, I placed a bid thinking I’d get outbid at the last second, it didn’t happen. I ended up with another 10 boxes of Twinkies.
I now have 18 boxes of these things being shipped to my home. Mentally fast forwarding to my immediate future in a few days when they all arrive and my wife finds out. That will not be a pretty day for me.
Trying to rationalize my brand loyalty $250 later won’t fly with my wife I know that.
But what I do know is building brand loyalty like that is something that companies live and breath for. They want that emotional connection between product and consumer the kind of loyalty that they’ll do crazy things for like buying 180 Twinkies on a whim.
Once my wife finds out about this “investment” of mine, I’m sure I’ll be 6 feet under, if I weather the golden sponge cake storm with my wife — we’d love to help your company build that same type of brand loyalty.
Twinkie Dilemma Update: (December 15th 2012 — 11 days after the debacle)
Well, my prediction was spot-on, my wife nearly pulled a Jodi Arias on me (ok it wasn’t that bad) but lets just say she was a tad livid. So what does any designer do with a problem before them? They reinvent/repackage. That’s what we did. With my wifes “encouragement” the Twinkies we were tripping over and cuddling up with at night were now being sent to our clients as Christmas gifts. You’re thinking how that seems cheesy right? “Sending little sponge cakes to your best clients — they’ll think you’re cheap.” WRONG! we sent them with this insert:
And guess what — huge hit! HUGE. Every client that received them were ecstatic and thought that it was very fitting and creative. One client of ours that has been with us for nearly a decade sent a photo below with this message:
“You have out done yourself! Your gift of the American pinnacle of confectionery treats was a huge surprise. These cream filled sponge cakes (soon only to been seen in museums) have been received with great appreciation and a huge smile. Lets eat!”
Taking lemons and making lemonade my friend! Get your brand loyalty on.