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Devil Dogs and Ring Dings Join Twinkies on Shelves Once Again, In a More Subdued Way

drakes cakesRing Dings, Yodels, Devil Dogs, and Drake’s Coffee Cakes are joining Twinkies back on grocery store shelves this week after a short hiatus while business matters were sorted out.

McKee Foods, the company behind Little Debbie, is orchestrating the Ring Ding revival. And it’s a markedly more quiet one than what we saw from Twinkies. The Drake’s website will provide a store locator for the cakes starting on Wednesday. There’s a contest or two happening. And the company’s social media sites are promoting the comeback. But it’s been a markedly more subdued comeback so far.

You’ll recall that Twinkies came back to consumers in July with a huge splash: a delivery truck with Al Roker aboard as he tossed Twinkies to the Today show crowd. Since then, the target has been young men, with social media figuring prominently in the company’s plans. The brand says nearly 85 million of the yellow cakes have been shipped with more orders coming in. It spent $3 million on the marketing, so that’s a pretty good return so far.

But ABC News notes the brand will have to keep up the search for new clients if it’s going to make it for the long term. There’s the issue of whether they can find those customers given new healthier eating habits and concerns. As an 80-year-old brand, Twinkies has staying power, but it’s also got a hurdle to overcome.

Drake’s is 125 years old, so it too has time on its side. And perhaps the less splashy relaunch functions as a way for the company to find its footing and roll out rather than jump on the scenes guns blazing. When you’ve got more than a century under your belt, why rush right?

More than that, it also has a spot in pop culture that could prove a valuable learning experience. Drake’s coffee cakes were part of a Seinfeld plot. Countless things — contraceptive sponges, pirate shirts, the Soup Nazi — benefited from a Seinfeld appearance. This brief appearance on the show is still being referenced today with the relaunch. It’s got us thinking that maybe product placement, which is in everything from movies to music videos, is the way to go for Drake’s. Perhaps they can orchestrate a way to find relevance for a new consumer. Maybe a cameo on Modern Family? Or a special appearance on The Big Bang Theory?

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