Trademark Musings

Thoughts on trademark issues by Laura Winston

Hostess with the Mostest? Or Leastest?

Ah, Hostess snack cakes.  Although my mother more often bought Drakes Cakes (causing me to gag on many a dry and crumbly Devil Dog), I still have fond memories of the Hostess products that I used to bum off my friends.  Although Twinkies were highlighted so wistfully by Woody Harrelson in the movie Zombieland earlier this year, it is the Hostess Cupcake which got me musing today.  According to the Hostess web site,  the Hostess cupcake turns 90 this year, although it was not until 1950 that a Hostess baking executive added the white filling and memorable white swirl.  But alas, Hostess did not protect its distinctive trade dress, and many bakeries now offer their version (often larger, like we need it) of a cupcake with the same white swirl.  Even Entenmann’s has now come out with an Enten-minis cupcake that has a (slightly different) white swirl. 

The Hostess web site does strive to address this issue and remind consumers that it invented the white swirl: “While others have tried to capitalize on the popularity of this ubiquitous decoration, the squiggle which features seven loops on every CupCake – is unmistakably Hostess”, the cupcake page states.  Unfortunately for Hostess, though, while consumers may always think of a Hostess cupcake when they see the swirl on a non-Hostess one, I strongly suspect that they still purchase the other one (and eat it all).

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December 22, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , ,

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