It only took over a century, but PepsiCo/Quaker, the Aunt Jemima brand’s current owner, has decided to retire this commercial brand image, citing its history in stereotypical racist Antebellum minstrel imagery.
Mars, which manufactures Uncle Ben’s rice products, and ConAgra, the conglomerate behind the grandmotherly Mrs. Butterworth’s, are rethinking their icons’ futures as well. (Is it just me who always thought Mrs. Butterworth has streimel envy?)
All of which made me think… should Mrs. Adler be watching over her shoulder?
(pictured above: Mrs. Adler’s gleaming glass jars of gefilte fish chat up other brands last evening in a Manhattan grocery store)
And what about dear old BUBBIE and her kosher pickles, sauerkraut, and prepared horseradish?
Fortunately, these are not rooted in racist stereotypes, the way DARKY TOOTHPASTE, THE FRITO BANDITO, LAND O LAKES, and the precursor of CHOO CHOO CHERRY (buck toothed Chinese Cherry, 1961) were. And what about SUGAR BABIES candies?
Plans were in the works to change Aunt J for years, and Quaker has milked the brand with very very little marketing spending to promote it for years at it waited and waited for rebranding. Aunt Jemima will go the way of Moshe Pupik, that cartoonish Israeli who helped sell Israeli prepared foods from Peace Works (see KIND nutritious bars). Funny how the Aunt Jemima announcement was made by Kristin Kroepfl, VP/CMO of Quaker Foods North America, and not the President or CEO. But that;s a story for another day or a business school case study.