14 Oct 2011

Sales Friends

I've recently discovered a fun podcast called The History Chicks. The two hosts, Beckett and Susan, research and then gab about interesting women in history (plus the occasional fictional female). Last week, they covered "The 50s Housewife" and did me the honour of mentioning that they liked my blog and the 50s Housewife Experiment in particular - so, thank you, HCs!

Still on a 1950s kick, they recently did a mini podcast on Betty Crocker (and if you comment on their website, you get entered for a chance to win a swell apron! Do it!), whom you hopefully know is the Tony the Tiger of baking - a corporate character rather than a real person. These trusted friend / big sister corporate icons were very popular in the 1940s through 1960s, and women actually wrote to them for advice (I would love the see the craziest letters Betty Crocker ever received. I wonder if the Freedom of Information Act covers that?). Just a flip through one of my 1956 Woman's Day magazines captured a few of these Sales Friends. Funny how incredibly similar they all are to each other:

Mary Blake of Carnation:

Mary Hale Martin of Libby's:
And rounding out the Mary Trifecta ....

That last one, Mary Lawton Wright, may have been real, although it's hard to accept that there really was a "National Red Cherry Institute" and that it was so busy that it actually had to employ people. Maybe that's the solution to the unemployment problem - just create random, weirdo institutes that give away free booklets. That's the ticket!

One Floating Lady Head, Mrs. Dan Gerber, even addressed that she was a real person. Her evidence? The amount of breeding her family members have been up to (which ... I guess means that my existence is up for dispute):

Since I have no children or grandchildren to prove that I have a corporeal form, I might as well get on the corporate character train too! The name I'd go by is easy to figure out, but what products would my likeness have represented at the time?

My best guesses:




I know it will be hard for you to believe, but those were all created with my go-to design program, MS Paint. Seamless, no?

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Need words? I'm a Toronto-based freelance writer who injects great ones into blogs, websites, magazines, ads and more. So many services, one lovely Jen (with one 'n').

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