IRVING, TEXAS — Hostess Brands, Inc. is marking the 90th anniversary of the Wonder bread brand with a program the company calls “Wonder Heroes.”
Focused on keeping the brand contemporary, Hostess said it will make selections from 800 submissions to the Wonder bread Facebook page and will place the Wonder Heroes on limited-edition packages that will be available in stores around Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Independence Day.
Recounting the brand’s rich history, Hostess said Wonder bread inspired the phrase “the best thing since sliced bread” and noted the company coined the term “the Wonder years.” Its signature campaign, which caused controversy for a time but is remembered many years later, described how Wonder “builds strong bodies.”
“While a long history of memorable marketing campaigns has helped Wonder soar to iconic status, the real secret of its enduring appeal is continuing to be at the forefront of countless innovations — from packaging to nutrition enhancements — that have kept it relevant among consumers and have had a lasting impact on the bread industry overall,” said Stephany Verstraete, senior vice-president of marketing at Hostess. “With the 90th anniversary, we're not only celebrating Wonder's remarkable history, but also its future as a contemporary brand that listens to the changing needs of its consumer. More of the best things since sliced bread are, in fact, yet to come.”
Hostess said Elmer Cline, a branding executive with the Taggart Baking Co., established the Wonder bread name in 1921 when searing for a name for a new bread. He was “filled with wonder” by the sight of hundreds of balloons creating a kaleidoscope of color at the International Balloon Race at the Indianapolis Speedway.
Announcing the 90th anniversary of the Wonder brand this year, Hostess offered the following timeline for the history of iconic bread brand.
1921 Taggart Baking Company creates Wonder bread
1930s Wonder becomes first major bread brand to distribute sliced bread
1934 / 1939 Wonder participates in World's Fairs in Chicago & New York
1940s Wonder becomes part of a government-sponsored program to enrich bread with vitamins and minerals as a way of combating certain diseases
1950s Wonder launches "builds strong bodies" campaign, becomes fixture on Howdy Doody Show
1960s Wonder experiments with an edgier image with introduction of "Helps Catch Boys" ad campaign, featuring risque headlines such as "Boy Trap" and "Date Bait"
1986 Wonder introduces a lower-calorie bread, Wonder Light
2005 Wonder becomes one of first bread brands to introduce a made with whole grain white bread
2006 Wonder plays a starring role in the feature film "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby"
2007 The Wonder bread Cookbook is released
2009 Wonder Classic and Wonder Classic Sandwich varieties include more calcium and vitamin D
2009 Wonder unveils the Sandwich Wonder-izer®, a new online tool enabling consumers to create unique sandwich combinations from a list of more than 120 ingredients
2010 Wonder goes mobile with launch of first iPhone app
2010 Wonder introduces Wonder® Smartwhite™, a bread with the taste and soft texture of white bread -- but with the fiber of 100% whole wheat bread
2010 Wonder becomes first major bread brand to join the National Sodium Reduction Initiative
2011 Wonder joins the Facebook community and launches "Heroes Campaign"
2011 Wonder® Smartwheat ™ is launched, bringing softness and added nutrition to 100% whole wheat bread