The Grown Up Gerber Baby (And Other Food Logo Histories)


Did you ever wonder who were the original Gerber baby, Aunt Jemima, and Betty Crocker, and the reasons why their images evolved over the years?

Neatorama has a post (part of a running series about logos) about the stories behind the famous images that appear on our food labels. Above is a picture of Ann Turner Cook, who modeled for the Gerber brand. Born in 1926, she’s now a retired teacher who writes mystery books. You can check out her website here.

Betty Crocker’s was an invented character whose name was chosen because “it sounded cheery, wholesome, and folksy.” The famous signature was penned by a General Mills company secretary who won a contest. Her entire persona was very carefully planned out to appeal to women:

A group of college educated women were hired to develop Betty’s persona. Her picture and signature appeared in print ads. Cooking demonstrations were organized showing off Betty’s “solutions to domestic woes.” […]
On the radio, Betty could speak to her loyal followers. Cooking and Gold Medal Flour were central to the script. But so were housekeeping, time management, friends, family, and husbands. “If you load a man’s stomach with boiled cabbage and greasy fried potatoes,” Betty once told listeners, “can you wonder that he wants to start a fight, or go out and commit a crime?” But she also reminded women that their role as homemakers was important, and that their aspirations could be “as great as woman could have in any occupation.”

Here’s how she’s changed over the years.

Aunt Jemima pancake mix was developed by two men in 1889. They chose the name after hearing a song called “Old Aunt Jemima” performed by a black-face vaudeville singer who donned an apron and bandanna. The business was sold a year later to R.T. Turner who hired Nancy Green, a former slave, to bring her to life for the brand. Here are the six women who have portrayed over the years.

To read more about the stories behind other food logos like the Jolly Green Giant, Quaker Oats, and Sara Lee, click here.

Stories Behind 10 Famous Food Logos [Neatorama]

Earlier: The Top 10 Female Product Advertising Icons & The Actresses Who Could Replace Them

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