MoonPie maker gears up for galactic sales event

Chattanooga Bakery declares its marshmallow treat the official sponsor of solar eclipse

Contributed photo / The "blackout" MoonPie boxes feature a variety of MoonPie flavors to help celebrate the solar eclipse on Monday.
Contributed photo / The "blackout" MoonPie boxes feature a variety of MoonPie flavors to help celebrate the solar eclipse on Monday.


Chattanooga Bakery Inc. is gearing up for what company officials believe will be galactic sales of its MoonPies for those looking for the perfect treat to celebrate the solar eclipse next week when the moon overshadows the sun, at least for a few minutes across much of America.

"We like to say that the eclipse is our Super Bowl, and it's the day that the moon wins," Tory Johnston, vice president of sales and marketing at Chattanooga Bakery, said in a telephone interview. "Last time, we frankly got flat-footed. But this time, we are trying to get out ahead of it and having a big time with this. We knew we had to go even bigger this eclipse."

Chattanooga Bakery has been making the marshmallow-filled graham cookies since 1917. For next week's event, the bakery is promoting its "blackout boxes" with either six or 12 MoonPies per pack and is also featuring a total eclipse survival kit with four mini-MoonPies and two pairs of eclipse glasses.

Johnson said more than 1 million of the blackout boxes have already been sold and thousands of the survival kits have been sold, primarily at Dollar Tree, Walmart and other stores in the path of totality for next week's eclipse.

"It's the day the moon wins, and the sun goes down," Johnston said. "So we wanted to make something that got people as excited about the eclipse as we are."

Chattanooga Bakery is also selling many of its special snack cake cartons online or at its three MoonPie General Store retail locations in Chattanooga, Pigeon Forge and Lynchburg, Tennessee.

(READ MORE: Why is Chattanooga's oldest and favorite snack called a MoonPie?)

Steve and Karla Drewry, who have a wine and spirits retail store known as Breakthru Beverage Missouri in Springfield, Missouri, stopped by the MoonPie store in Chattanooga on Monday to load up on treats for their celebration next week in Missouri where the moon is expected to block out nearly 98% of the sun for more than 4 minutes.

"We're not in the totality zone, but we're celebrating the event and thought MoonPies would be the ideal treat for the occasion," Karla Drewry said Monday afternoon on their way back to Missouri from Georgia.

The Drewrys loaded up with more than $100 of MoonPie cartons and viewing kits for the occasion and posed in front of the Broad Street store for photos to mark their visit.


Sales go over the moon

During the last solar eclipse in the U.S., MoonPie's online sales surged, and the company struggled to keep up with sales from all of those wanting MoonPies to mark the moon overshadowing the sun.

Chattanooga Bakery even got into a social media war of sorts over what was the favorite snack for the eclipse. While many served Frito Lay's Sun Chips in the 2017 solar eclipse, Chattanooga Bakery asked its supporters who was going to win: "the awesome cool moon" or "the lame, boring sun."

Hostess touted its sunny cupcakes on X, formerly Twitter, and appealed to Chattanooga Bakery to work together "to use our snacking powers for good. How about the Mooncake?" Hostess asked on its social media account. In reply, the MoonPie supporters showed their snack covering the Hostess cupcake in the same manner that the moon blocked out the sun during the eclipse.

For next Monday's eclipse, Chattanooga Bakery began making cartons, promotions and extra MoonPies weeks in advance to gear up for the occasion.

(READ MORE: Looking at a solar eclipse can be dangerous without eclipse glasses. Here's what to know)

Sun vs. moon showdown

The company even launched a social video campaign featuring the sun versus the moon in a spoofed professional wrestling match billed as "Sun vs. Moon '24: Brutality in the Totality." In the video, shot in the style of a wrestling trailer, two wrestlers portray the sun and moon. The brand is pitting the celestial bodies against each other in a cosmic rematch billions of years in the making.

MoonPie's "Brutality vs. Totality" promotion comes on the heels of its "Alien Acquisition" campaign in which MoonPie became the first brand to advertise directly to aliens to corner the market on a new customer base.

In 2023 after repeated congressional hearings and repeated reports that year of UFO sightings, Chattanooga Bakery launched a tongue-in-cheek campaign to sell MoonPies to aliens, complete with actual alien language transmissions about the marshmallow treat. The ad campaign includes MoonPie promotions using the supposed language and sounds of extraterrestrials on billboards, airplane banners, light shows and videos to attract alien attention.

"As our name suggests, we're all about everything out of this world, so when we heard all this talk about aliens being out there, we decided to go after that potential market," Johnston said.

Johnston said there haven't been many sales yet to aliens, at least that he knows about.

"But we think we've got their attention," he said.

(READ MORE: How Chattanooga Bakery was built to last)

What's ahead Monday

The total solar eclipse will cross North America on Monday, April 8, passing over Mexico, the United States and Canada. A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon moves between Earth and the sun, totally blocking the sun's face. The next such event visible from the contiguous United States won't happen until Aug. 23, 2044.

Tennessee is just outside the path of totality, where the sun will be completely obscured by the moon, but most residents in the Volunteer State will see around 85-95% of coverage starting around 1:49 p.m. EDT.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6340.


Upcoming Events