Inside Crumbs’ return as a digital bakery store appealing to Gen Z

The header image shows an illustration of two women looking at their mobile phones.

For the first time in nearly a decade, cupcake brand Crumbs is building a presence online. The company plans to spend its marketing budget on social media platforms to reach audiences on TikTok and Instagram.


  • Target nostalgic millennials and introduce the brand to Gen Z
  • Focus marketing spend on TikTok, Instagram and other social platforms
  • Hire an in-house team to build and manage social campaigns
  • OOH efforts including a food truck in NYC
  • 19-item line to launch in grocery stores next month
  • Future plans for influencer marketing

Crumbs is doing this to capitalize on nostalgic millennials as well as introduce itself to Gen Z. The company kicked off this effort with a two-week social teaser campaign prior to its relaunch of the brand from Oct. 16 to Oct. 30. Over those two weeks, the brand’s Instagram account grew from zero followers to over 6,000 followers. To showcase what is coming from the relaunch, Crumbs also posted its offerings and short form video teasers on TikTok.

“When we first launched Crumbs, Myspace, Facebook and YouTube were all totally new platforms that were not our top priority from a marketing perspective in the early days of the company,” said Jason Bauer, co-founder of Crumbs Bakeshop, which hired to fill its in-house social team. “Now, you can’t launch or, in our case, relaunch a brand without a full scale social media strategy and it was very important that we bring on the right people to build and manage that aspect of our marketing campaigns from the start.”

Back in 2011, Crumbs was selling one million cupcakes a month prior to 2014 when the brand closed, according to Bauer. Now with the use of social media, the company hopes to re-engage the Crumbs fanbase. “This is the perfect time to bring Crumbs back and accomplish all the things we never had a chance to do,” said Bauer, noting that the brand is now selling products online such as cupcakes, cookies, and more signature desserts, modeled after a direct-to-consumer brand.

To drum up interest in the relaunch, the brand published behind-the-scenes Reels on its making of the cupcakes along with photos including a giveaway of its six-pack cupcakes to three winners. The post drew over 900 comments with entries with the winners to be announce on Nov. 11.

“From a brand marketing perspective, revitalizing a ‘legacy’ brand like Crumbs can speed breakthrough in a cluttered market and consideration with credibility,” said Mat Zucker, senior partner, co-head of marketing and sales at Prophet, a growth strategy consulting firm. “From a demand and sales perspective, a digital-first approach is crucial for discovery, path to purchase and amplification through peers.”

Aside from social media, to increase its OOH efforts, Crumbs set up a food truck in NYC this week and scheduled two weeks worth of stops to meet its fans in-person to distribute cupcakes. “The experience of connecting with our fans in-person once again and watching them enjoy Crumbs cupcakes right in front of us makes us so happy and is very humbling,” said Bauer.

From a brand marketing perspective, revitalizing a ‘legacy’ brand like Crumbs can speed breakthrough in a cluttered market.
Mat Zucker, senior partner and co-head of marketing and sales, Prophet

Bauer said Crumbs will be spending between $50,000 and $75,000 a month on paid advertising across all social platforms for the next few months in order to build awareness around the relaunch and point to where consumers can purchase its products (e-commerce, direct-to-consumer, and mentioning supermarkets carrying the new CPG line). The company is also using its website to drive traffic, QR codes on its materials to educate consumers on how to purchase and local guerilla-marketing, according to Bauer.

“Crumbs’ new digital strategy will give it a huge opportunity to appeal to Gen Z and the products are very visually appealing and will lend themselves well to social media,” said Aliza Freud, CEO of SheSpeaks, a community of female influencers, reaching 300 million consumers per month, through brand programs designed and executed to drive real impact. “Distribution and availability of cupcakes will be critical as instant gratification is very important for Gen Z.”

Next month, Crumbs will launch 19 new retail items in grocery stores across the northeast, followed by a national launch in 2023. Additionally, the brand will also soon partake in influencer marketing campaigns as they reconnected with a number of its consumers from a decade ago who are now social media influencers. “We grew up on certain dessert brands in the supermarket that we reminisce about, and we want the next generation to grow up with Crumbs,” said Bauer.

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