The recent bankruptcy filing by Hostess Brands — manufacturers of America’s iconic Twinkie snack cake (a delectable combination of sugar, enriched flour, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, polysorbate 60 and yellow dye No. 5), — is a bittersweet moment for me. This staple of my early years in San Diego fueled me through after-school activities, college cram sessions and 3PM snack time during a time when no one thought food manufacturers would harm consumers’ health.
But today, sugar- and preservative-filled “junk” foods with no nutritional value whatsoever no longer meet consumers’ needs. That’s a good thing for America’s obesity epidemic, my own waistline, and certainly my young son Mason’s health. Hostess found that all its advertising and marketing muscle couldn’t reverse a seismic shift in consumer preferences.
What heartens me, and underscores our collective thinking at AdEase, is that Hostess’ demise had nothing to do with “food police” orders by our nanny state. Consumers themselves made the decision that “good for you” foods should take precedence on shopping lists, in corner bodegas, even at vending machines. Which proves that consumers are not as dumb and helpless as government regulators often think – and as an advertising agency we applaud that.
With so much information readily available to the public, harmful or sham products are seldom marketed for long. In particular, social media provides consumers with enormous power, which is growing every day. So we suggest over-zealous legislators chill out; the public is far more intelligent than you give them credit for.