Five years after the number two chocolate sandwich was pulled from shelves, it’s back. In a rare moment where public will actually triumphed, Kellogg has decided to temporarily pull the
Hydrox cookie out of retirement. The decision came after 1,300 people called Kellogg, and an online petition to bring the Hydrox back garnered 1,000 signatures, according to the Wall Street Journal. Hydrox long competed with Oreo for the title of most popular chocolate sandwich cookie on the market. They lost the battle in 2003, when Kellogg 86ed Hydrox.
What’s really interesting about Hydrox’s comeback, though, is that it was a relatively small group of consumers who successfully lobbied for its return. While these fans are diehards (check out the WSJ video here explaining that for many of these people, eating Hydrox is a “declaration of identity”)—they’re probably not enough to sustain any meaningful sales for Kellogg. And having eaten a few Hydrox myself as a kid, I can tell you that the cookie’s taste alone won’t be enough to keep the dream alive for Kellogg, if in fact that’s what they’re after.
While re-launching Hydrox obviously drums ups some good-will press for Kellogg, I’m curious from a business standpoint why they brought it back. Are they really gunning for a second shot at glory riding on the backs of consumers who say they cookies are part of their “identity”? Frankly 1,000 signatures isn’t a lot – and I’d bet that some of these people are the same ones phoning it in. Beyond that, Hydrox sales obviously were low enough at one point to kill the brand. Products that have cult appeal (Jolt soda comes to mind) obviously do sell, but typically not enought to pull serious profits. So is Kellogg actually bending to the will of Hydrox lovers, or is there a deeper, smarter strategy at play here?