Remember Hydrox Cookies? No? That’s Because Oreos Ripped Them Off And Buried Them.

Posted: April 11, 2017 in Amazing and Interesting Stories, Food, History
Tags:

Sometimes, it’s all in the marketing. And a shitty name always hurts as well. Here’s the story.

Kids, there once was a cookie brand called Hydrox, and it is the original “sandwich cookie.” Hydrox debuted in 1908 and a cookie you may have heard of, Oreos, began in 1912. Oreos have been the knock-off brand all along, man.

Be honest. Did you know that?

It’s a familiar story. A small, fledgling company comes up with a great new product, so great that a bigger, more powerful company copies the idea. The larger firm flexes its better distribution and promotional muscles, the smaller outfit watches helplessly as its business slips away, and suddenly it’s all over. Another case of the strong running roughshod over the weak. It’s the American Way really, when you think about it.

Hydrox cookies were originally the signature product of a small company called Sunshine Biscuits. The public loved them and they single-handedly ruled the sandwich cookie market for four years, until they looked around and saw a giant peeking through their window.

National Biscuit, the massive company that would later become Nabisco, took an interest in this strange new product and created their own ripoff version, using their vastly superior, already established distribution channels and massive advertising budgets to steamroll the good old USA with it. Sunshine was a cool little company and all, but they didn’t have a real good strategy to fight this other than saying, “Hey! We were first, man!” with ads like this:

Yeah, that’s pretty weaksauce. Sad really. Plus that kid is terrifying.

The problem is, after a few years Oreos had become so popular that Hydrox began being perceived as the imitation. It probably didn’t help that Hydrox sounds like something you’d buy to clean your toilet or to bleach your dirty linen, so there’s that as well. Branding, man. It’s important.

So anyhoo, Sunshine was eventually bought by other companies and their products discontinued, while that filthy imitation product known as “Oreo” went on to become a cultural icon, which I happen to adore.

I guess the lesson to be learned here is to always be looking over your shoulder, trust nobody, and never give a food you invented a name that sounds like a cleaning solvent.

You’re welcome.

Advertisements

Gimme a holler.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s