Campbell Mithun picks 13 internship finalists based on “Dear Twinkies…” ideas

Logo credit: L13 finalist Benjamin Blaska

Campbell Mithun picked 13 finalists for its Lucky 13 Internship based on brand-engagement ideas to take the iconic Twinkies brand into the future. Applicants represented students attending schools ranging from portfolio schools and small colleges to large universities and Ivy League institutions nationwide; nearly 60 percent attend schools outside of Minnesota, where Campbell Mithun is based. Meet the finalists at

To apply, they submitted a Twinkies idea along with a “Dear new owners of Twinkies…” letter, a “Campbell Mithun hire me because…” note and resume.  Applicants were screened via just their Twinkies ideas and letters to preserve focus on their work.

“Our Lucky 13 applicants rose mightily to the challenge of addressing this real-time marketing situation,” said Debbie Fischer, director of human resources at Campbell Mithun. “Their recommendations were digitally savvy, divergent and reflected a lot of effort and good thinking.  Reviewing the work was an honor; I look forward to meeting the finalists.”

Layered social/digital strategies anchor many of the finalists’ Twinkies ideas, which range from online games, sponsorships, pop-up stores, Times Square kick-offs, treasure hunts, a Twinkies Truck, a Zombie tie-in and a traveling carnival.  Even the Twinkies-based Campbell Mithun logo at the top of this post was part of an application. (Thank you L13 finalist Benjamin Blaska!)

Finalists will interview in person or via Skype in the next few weeks; interns will be hired by the month’s end.

Introducing the 2013 Lucky 13 Internship finalists

Name                                  School                                Twinkies Idea                                             

  1. Benjamin Blaska            University of Minnesota        “The Twinkie Zone” online game site
  2. Noah Carlson                St Olaf College (MN)            “Twinkie Town” traveling carnival
  3. Michael Christianson      Winona State Univ (MN)       “Survival of the Fittest” campaign
  4. Philip Jesse Donaldson  Marquette University            “The Hunt for the Golden Twinkie” contest, party
  5. Ruben De Avila              Indiana Univ (Bloomington)   “You Deserve the Reward” fitness campaign
  6. Maggie Hughes             Iowa State University            “The Year of the Twinkie” movement w/Twinkie Truck
  7. Anita Joo                      University of Minnesota        “Twinkies Throwback” competition
  8. Rose Kim                      New York University             “Where’s the Last Twinkie?” Zombieland tie-in
  9. Kayleigh O’Brien           Wake Forest University        “Fate of the Twinkie Hoarders” reality campaign
  10. Brian Skalak                  Iowa State University            “Bring Back the Good Times; Harness the Hype” social
  11. Jonathan Unger             UNC-Chapel Hill                   “Twinkies: Since the Dawn of Time” geo-hunt, microsite
  12. Harry Whitaker              Syracuse University             “Twinkie the Kid’s Return from Space” flavor extensions
  13. Blair Winders                Duke University                   “Twinkies on Tour” phased (traveling) product rollout


Twinkies and Campbell Mithun go way back: Campbell Mithun originated the “Where’s the cream filling?” tagline when Twinkies was a client nearly 20 years ago. Twinkies former parent company, Hostess Brands Inc., recently declared bankruptcy and auctioned the Twinkies brand for $410 million to investment firms Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co., who aim to have the snack cake back on shelves by summer 2013. The “Dear new Twinkies owners…” application occurs during Campbell Mithun’s 80th anniversary year (and Twinkies were born in the ‘30s too).

The application process

The Lucky 13 Internship application was announced March 1 on, for college students with a graduation date between fall 2012 and summer 2014. To apply, applicants submitted the following:

  • URL address for their Twinkies recommendation (presented via blog, YouTube, SlideShare, etc.)
  • A “Dear new owners of Twinkies” statement
  • A “Dear Campbell Mithun, hire me because…” note
  • Resume

About Campbell Mithun’s Lucky 13 Internship

Some believe that 13 is an unlucky number.  But as Ray Mithun, co-founder of Campbell Mithun once said, “If thirteen is unlucky for some people, it must be lucky for someone else.” The Lucky 13 internship program seeks those individuals who can be someone else — those who have the courage to go against the grain and to believe in original ideas and creative solutions. The interns do real work for real clients, alongside real professionals, earning a real chance to start their careers as full-time members of the advertising community.

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  1. [...] love their Twinkies, so advertisers need to know how to get it to them effectively. The applicant ideas range from online Twinkie games to a “Fate of the Twinkie Hoarders” reality campaign [...]