Aunt Jemima's Advertising Campaign from the Late 19th to the Late 20th Century

1597 Words 7 Pages
In the late 1880's in Missouri two men named Chris L. Rutt and Charles G. Underwood created a revolutionary instant pancake flour mix. They created the trademark after visiting a theater and seeing women in blackface, aprons, and red bandanas doing a performance of a song entitled "Old Aunt Jemima." This popular song of the time inspired them to use this very image as their company logo.

Rutt and Underwood used many different ways to exploit this new image. They used posters, live appearances, memorabilia, and of course on the product itself. These two men practiced advertising in a way where it quickly linked image and product in such a way that a lasting impression is created in the public's mind. They used a clever promotion
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This was pretty much the African American image in advertising during the time of the creation of Aunt Jemima; a battered mule to carry all of America's problems so that it made the rest of America feel better. Aunt Jemima was one of the many an examples that displayed drastic difference between a dominant and an oppressed group. It showed these differences rather than to use goods as a method to iron out the differences or to undermine potential conflicts, whether they are class-based or racial (Goings 12). The changes and growth of consumerism in advertising created a society where people could project changes in their status through the acquisition of consumer goods. Advertising's ability to promote this connection struck a deep and responsive chord within American society. The stereotypical images of African American people became ."..popular `advertising hooks' for consumer products, armed primarily at the white working class (Goings 12). Aunt Jemima's trademark mirrored America's changing perceptions of African Americans. These changes can be seen through the political issues in the post civil war, the social movements during the civil rights, and the cultural movements during the 1980's until present time.

The Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 freed African American in rebelling states, and after the civil War, the Thirteenth Amendment emancipated