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This iconic American dessert gets a restaurant-ready, deep-fried facelift

The Twinkie™ – in all its creamy, cakey goodness – has been the quintessential American treat since the Great Depression. New for 2017, however, is the Deep Fried Twinkie, because even with the increasing popularity of healthier, more wholesome menu items (did someone say Acai Berry Smoothie Bowl?), restaurant-goers will always have a soft spot for deep-fried foods.

Capitalizing on this deep-fried frenzy, McCain Foodservice launched an integrated campaign touting the Twinkie’s nostalgia and convenience to restaurant operators with the goal of bringing the Hostess® Twinkie® brand to the foodservice market. A series of ad placements with publications like Smartbrief Restaurant, Foodservice Director and Restaurant Business were built around a free product sample, hoping to intrigue and motivate operators to try the product with a strong call to action that touted the product’s novelty.

The ad’s creative is simple. Appetite-provoking hero images showcase how the classic Twinkie can be used in a variety of innovative ways. Upon clicking through, the reader is brought to a landing page (below) with an order form to request a free sample, along with recipe inspiration.

McCain was very liberal with samples, as there was no need to be a foodservice operator. However there does appear to have been a cap on this promotion as the rebate is now closed.

Our curiosity (and appetite) got the best of us, and we requested a sample of our own, which arrived in approximately two week’s time. With recipe inspiration taken from the site, we put the product to the test. We were impressed with the freshness and versatility of the product and can see its benefits to foodservice operators for a quick dessert.

Though it is too early to tell if the campaign resonated with operators, Long John Silver’s announced that it will test the Deep-Fried Twinkie on their dessert menu in select markets – an indicator of the campaign’s success.

Key Takeaways:

  • Liberal samples are a compelling, easy way to drive trial and usage when introducing a new product to market
  • A full media surround with a variety of print, digital, native ad and DTO placements helped this campaign break through
  • Pairing sampling with recipe inspiration can be a powerful combination to create operator trial
  • Creating a new twist on an old favorite is a timeless trend

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