Much like Betty Crocker and the Brawny Man recently “updated” their product’s icon, the Sun-Maid company wrongly thinks that the 21st Century requires a 21st Century Sun-Maid girl. When I heard about this change, I was extremely upset. As a lover of raisins, I’m fond of the old icon — the kind-hearted, but lusty farm girl, always with a smile on her face, the perfect hostess who never fails to offer me some of her fresh-picked, juicy California grapes. What full-blooded American teen male hasn’t spent countless hours staring at his box of raisins, fantasizing about this beautiful raisin girl with the tight peasant blouse and mysterious red bonnet, her long, dark hair flowing down?
“Unlike the Pillsbury Doughboy or even Betty Crocker, the Sun Maid image is based on a real person – Lorraine Collett Petersen, a California girl who volunteered to hand out boxes of raisins at the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco.”
“Petersen was asked to pose with a tray of grapes for a painting that became the company’s logo in 1916.”
“The image was updated in 1970, when the Sun Maid’s decidedly ethnic features were smoothed out and her torso was slenderized.”
Thirty-six years later, and it’s time for some more Botox — especially if you’re going to be on television. So, since it’s time for some Sun-Maid commercials, it’s time for the raisin girl to get a makeover.
“But now, for the first time in her very long life, the beauty on the box has been granted a Pilates body, an aerobics instructor’s voice, and a 30-second television spot to launch her new career as a company spokescharacter.
Introduced last week, the 21st-century version of the raisin queen is a true digital dollface, tanned and toned and unmistakably going for the big-eyed Barbie, Shrek-girl, Disney-princess look. Think Sandra Bullock made of pixels, and you get the picture.”
You can see the final commercial here.
TV has always been obsessed with good looks, but never as much so as today. Could a Walter Cronkite exist today? While watching reruns of “Match Game” this weekend, Sophia and I wondered if a dorky guy like Gene Rayburn could ever host a game show nowadays? Even on “reality” shows, everyone is unrealistically good-looking. I’m not going to even get into the weight issues that television promotes. Which Teri Hatcher, Marcia Cross, etc. — the show should be called “Desperately Anorexic Housewives.”
Call me a traditionalist, but I like the old raisin girl better. But I guess I understand the company’s need to “sex her up.” In fact, as a top blogger, I was able to get access to the secret plans for Raisin Girl 2007 [codename Angela the Stripper] , as the company raises the “edgy” level in order to increase the demographic of younger men age 18-25, who have been opting out of raisins for “hipper” snacks like Doritos.