Trademark practitioners and junk food addicts (two groups whose ranks often overlap) are closely watching the bankruptcy of Hostess Brands, Inc. and the liquidation of its assets, including its famous TWINKIES brand.
Will a qualified buyer emerge to purchase the brand, and to ensure that TWINKIES — like PAN AM and ZENITH — remains alive, if only in some shrunken, transformed existence?
Or will TWINKIES go the way of all flesh, to that trademark graveyard populated by the likes of ATARI, BORDERS, CIRCUIT CITY, and TOWER RECORDS; marks once famous and ubiquitous, now lost, and by the wind grieved, ghosts which will never come back again? (Pardon, Thomas Wolfe.)
In the past, those were the only choices for brands of failed businesses. But in recent years, a new, dubious industry has emerged to offer a third choice. Companies like Strategic Marks of Irvine, California, identify lost marks and try to revive them without the authorization of their erstwhile owners. Most see these marks the way the Coroner of Oz saw the Wicked Witch of the East, as “not merely dead, but really most sincerely dead.” But to Strategic Marks and its audacious founder Ellia Kassoff, these marks have an afterlife. They see them the way Miracle Max saw Wesley, the hero of The Princess Bride: “only mostly dead.” And as Miracle Max explained: “There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive.”