Hydrox Makes a Comeback
By Tom Ryan
Bowing to more than 1,300 phone inquiries, an online petition delivering more than 1,000 signatures and internet chat sites lamenting the demise of the snack, Kellogg Co. has decided to temporarily relaunch Hydrox, the Oreo’s former long-time rival. The online campaign to bring it back came after Hydrox, which Kellogg quietly discontinued in 2003, was the subject of a front-page article in January in The Wall Street Journal.
According to the Journal, Kellogg’s move is more about marketing and responding to consumers rather than the goal of a permanent product reintroduction. The cookie will be sold nationally starting in August, but only for a limited time. Brad Davidson, head of Kellogg’s snack division, said Kellogg is open to a permanent re-introduction “if it takes off and there turns out to be a real affinity for it.”
Sunshine Biscuits created Hydrox in 1908 – four years before the Oreo came out. Later, with Oreo so monopolizing the market, Hydrox was widely and erroneously regarded as a cheaper copycat. After buying Sunshine in 1996, Keebler even relaunched Hydrox as Droxies before it was acquired by Kellogg.
Still, the Journal’s piece surmised that Hydrox’s distant second-place standing to the Oreo has created hard-core fans who “see their sandwich-cookie choice as a call to arms for nonconformists.”
A recent list of the top 25 things people miss from Walletpop.com, AOL’s consumer finance blog, ranked Hydrox at No. 4, just behind in-store lunch counters and ahead of Howard Johnson restaurants, Grape Nehi and the popcorn snack “Screaming Yellow Zonkers.”
Discussion Questions: How big a role is the internet playing in driving nostalgia for retired brands? What do you think of Kellogg’s move to bring back Hydrox? Will purchase of the brand be enough for Kellogg to continue manufacturing it?