SF Gate explains that when Annie’s launched its first product in 1989 (which, incidentally, was “Shells and White Cheddar,” perhaps to distinguish the pasta-and-cheese-in-a-box from its neon orange competition), creator Annie Withey put her phone number on the back of every box of pasta. Withey’s address in Connecticut became widespread as well, as she and her team employed guerrilla marketing techniques and personally delivered boxes of shells and cheddar to customers around the area. The local postman began to divert nosy fans, and — after a 3 a.m. phone call from some surfer dudes on the West Coast, looking for some righteous mac-and-chee — Withey’s phone number eventually disappeared from the boxes.
Does she miss hearing from satisfied customers, though? In an email to SF Gate, Withey says, “I responded to thousands of letters, literally (I still have a callus on my finger from pen overuse!) and made the effort to answer all questions, offer advice and share some of my thoughts with the wonderful people who wrote to me.” And while she claims to still eat a box or two of Annie’s a month, Withey is harder to reach these days, having sold the company a long time ago. But Bernie, the bunny on the box who was named for her then-pet rabbit, is still all ears if you want to tell him thanks.