Monday, September 19, 2016

One of America's Favorites - Ding Dong

A Ding Dong is a chocolate cake produced and distributed in the United States by Hostess Brands
Hostess Ding Dong
and currently owned by private equity firms Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co; it remains in production and distribution in Canada from Saputo Incorporated under the name King Don. Ding Dong production resumed in the United States on July 15, 2013, after an absence from American store shelves. It is round with a flat top and bottom, close to three inches in diameter and slightly taller than an inch high, similar in shape to a hockey puck. A white creamy filling is injected into the center and a thin coating of chocolate glaze covers the cake. The cake was originally wrapped in a square of thin aluminium foil, enabling it to be carried in lunches without melting the chocolate glaze.

The Ding Dong is similar to other cream-filled cakes such as Arcade Vachon's Jos. Louis introduced before 1934. Hostess began marketing its Ding Dong in 1967. The name was given to coincide with a television ad campaign featuring a ringing bell. Hostess went out of business on November 16, 2012, stopping all production. In June 2013, the new Hostess Brands reopened a Kansas product plant and announced that Ding Dong production would resume on July 15, 2013.

The company marketed the snacks on the East Coast as Big Wheels, to avoid confusion with the Ring Ding, a similar and pre-existing treat by Drake's Cakes. The names were consolidated in 1987, when
Drake's Ring Dings
a short-lived merger of Drake's with Hostess's parent company (then Continental Baking Company) briefly resolved the Ring Ding/Ding Dong conflict. When the merged company broke up, however, Hostess was once again forced to cease using the Ding Dongs name in areas where Ring Dings were available. The compromise sound-alike name King Dons lasted until Interstate Bakeries Corporation, which had recently merged with Hostess' parent company, bought Drake's in 1998. The Hostess product was then sold under the name Ding Dongs throughout the United States, although it was still sold as King Don in Canada.

To advertise the Ding Dong, Hostess created the cartoon character King Ding Dong, an anthropomorphized Ding Dong sporting a crown and sceptre. He was similar to other Hostess characters Captain Cupcake, Happy Ho Ho, Twinkie the Kid, and Fruit Pie the Magician. Where King Dons were marketed, the character, like the product, was known as "King Don." In areas that used the Big Wheel name, the character was an Indian chief named "Chief Big Wheel."

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