This is your second of seven free items this month.

To register, get added benefits and unlimited access to articles, Become a Member. Already a Member? Sign in.

Rewind: See the Original Storyboard for Twinkie the Kid

By Published on . 0

Twinkie fans have had a roller-coaster of a time as the Hostess brand entered bankruptcies, flirted with death and then was revived again.

When Twinkies made their much-hyped return in July, Twinkie the Kid was along for the ride, making high-profile appearances aimed at adults like this one on the "The Today Show." But the mascot's original target was children. The Kid came to life in this 1970's ad below, which is the subject of this week's edition of "Ad Age Rewind".

The campaign, "You Get a Big Delight in Every Bite," was born on this storyboard created more than four decades ago by Donald Michelson of the Ted Bates ad agency, who died in 2012 at the age of 80.

Original Twinkie the Kid Storyboard

After his death, the original Twinkie the Kid drawings remained in the possession of Mr. Michelson's family, and seemed destined for obscurity when Hostess shut down late last year in the midst of financial struggles.

"When Hostess went out of business, we were like, ahhh, there goes our childhood," Mr. Michelson's niece, Dori Orofino, recalled in a recent interview. She remembers watching the ad for the first time as a kid when it aired during Saturday morning cartoons. Her uncle called her immediately after it aired to let her know it was his creation. "I went to school the next day and told everybody," she said. (The family loaned the storyboard to Hostess PR agency LAK Public Relations of New York, which provided the images to Ad Age.)

Hostess was reborn earlier this year under new ownership, allowing Twinkie the Kid to ride again. It's not the first time the mascot has been threatened with near extinction. Former owner Continental Baking Co. removed him from packaging in 1988. But the Kid came back two years later in the wake of a letter-writing campaign led by 13-year-old Judd Slivka of New Jersey. "It seems you have removed the greatest American there is, Twinkie the Kid, from the boxes and wrappers of your Twinkie product," Mr. Slivka wrote, according to this newspaper account at the time. "The undersigned, all members of The Save the Twinkie the Kid Foundation, have vowed not to eat any Hostess products as long as our hero is kept away from the product."

Twinkie Box
Twinkie Box

These days, the Kid is starring as a centerpiece of the brand's "The Sweetest Comeback in the History of Ever" campaign, which also covers other Hostess products and includes outdoor, digital and event marketing. The creative agency for the effort is Bernstein-Rein of Kansas City. The campaign, which has not included paid TV ads, has been a sweet success, garnering some 5,000 earned media placements, according to LAK. In the first two weeks of the comeback, the company projected it got 50 million Twinkies on store shelves.

But how does the brand plan to sustain the momentum after the comeback buzz fades? By "reintroducing the brand one person at a time," said David Leavitt, VP-marketing at Hostess Brands. On that front, Hostess made a big push on college campuses for the back-to-school season.

As for the Kid, his next stop is the Bikes Blues and BBQ motorcycle rally in Arkansas, which run through Saturday. After that, the Kid will be marching in Advertising Week's "Parade of Icons," on Monday as he competes for a spot in the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame against other nominees such as Hamburger Helper, Toucan Sam and Charlie the Tuna.

In this article:

Read These Next

Comments (0)