In the annals of advertising imagery, few brand symbols are more iconic and recognizable than the Sun-Maid raisin girl.
Nevertheless, Sun-Maid recently decided to join Betty Crocker, Aunt Jemima and Mrs. Butterworth's in giving the female face of their product a substantial makeover from a young, early 20th-century girl into a buxom, modern young woman, leading some to say that the newly made-over raisin girl looks like a Barbie Doll in Amish attire
Since 1915, the face of Sun-Maid has been Lorraine Collett Petersen, who, according to the company's website , "was discovered drying her black hair curls in the sunny backyard of her parents' home in Fresno, California." Petersen was then asked to pose for a watercolor painting holding a basket of grapes while wearing a sunbonnet. In the years since, the company has tweaked its trademark design occasionally to keep up with the times, but every variation has always been based on the original pose by Petersen. The new computer-animated version of the Sun-Maid girl currently featured in television advertisements is a departure from the classic design that harkened back to a time when "life was much simpler, more rural, a lot less hectic."
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It never ceases to amaze what people complain about. Seriously, this is a controversy!Naturally, the revamped look hasn't gone unnoticed, rankling both ends of the political spectrum. The blog for conservative magazine The Weekly Standard noted that the new Sun-Maid girl looks "as if Julia Roberts decided to don a red bonnet and start picking grapes," while the feminist website Jezebel.com remarked that it looks as if she's had some implants.
Though the new look for the raisin girl has been garnering attention of late, the changes to the 90-year-old icon were actually introduced three years ago. At the time, Sun-Maid president Barry Kriebel said that the decision to make changes was inspired by the desire to educate consumers about healthy living choices.