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MoonPie Makeover

Back in 1917 when the MoonPie was created at The Chattanooga Bakery, it was one of as many as 150 different products the company was producing.

Today, The Chattanooga Bakery, a family business currently run by Sam Campbell, of Washington and Lee’s Class of 1981, makes only one thing — MoonPies. In fact, the bakery makes a million MoonPies a day.

Earlier this month when MoonPie introduced new packaging, it provided some interesting lessons in branding and marketing, as a story in The Chattanooga Times Free Press explained.

As Sam, the company’s president, told the newspaper, MoonPie’s new packaging “is designed to stir up the warm feelings people associate with our brand while also modernizing the look.” He added that the goal is to make it so the package “jumps off the shelf and into your shopping cart.”

This was the first major change in MoonPie’s branding in two decades. The updated logo is based largely on the way the product looked back in the 1930s. Over the years, MoonPie has become as much an icon as a snack cake. Back in the 1920s and ’30s, MoonPies and RC Colas were widely regarded as the Southern working man’s lunch.

Under Sam’s leadership, growth has been steady and the creation’s celebrity has also increased. Starting in 2011, for instance, Mobile, Ala., has rung in the New Year with the MoonPie drop. And the company now operates MoonPie General Stores in three Southern cities.

But, as Sam understand better than anyone, the packaging isn’t nearly as important as the product. That’s why folks on MoonPie’s Facebook page, asked their reaction to the new logo, had predictable responses:

“It ain’t what’s on the outside, it’s what goodness is on the inside ;-)” and “just dont mess with the moon pie!”