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 Advertising Mascots - People

Quaker Oats Man Quaker Oats Man -  One of the oldest advertising mascots in America, the Quaker Oats Man became the first registered trademark for a breakfast cereal in 1877. Through the years, many have mistaken the Quaker Oats Company mascot as William Penn or Ben Franklin, but in truth, the image of a man dressed in the Quaker garb was purposely chosen to reflect the "Quaker" faith and its values of honesty, integrity, and purity. Surprisingly, the actual Society of Friends (a.k.a. the "Quakers") went to court to have their association with the cereal removed, but they lost the court battle.

The portrait of the Quaker man on the Quaker Oats popular red, white and blue package has been updated just three times since its creation - once in 1946, again in 1957 and most recently in 1972. The original 1877 image was a full-length picture of a kindly Quaker man holding a scroll with the word "Pure" on it.

In 1946, graphic designer Jim Nash developed a new Quaker identity by introducing a black-and-white version of the now-familiar smiling head portrait. In 1957, Chicago artist and illustrator Haddon Sundblom updated Nash’s line drawing to a full-color portrait of the Quaker man, and in 1972, John Mills painted the stylized blue and white graphic image that appears on packages today.

The Quaker Oats Company was officially formed in 1901 when several American grain pioneers came together to incorporate the now familiar name. These pioneers were Ferdinand Schumacher, John Stuart, George Douglas and Henry Parsons Crowell. Besides being the first registered trademark for a breakfast cereal, the Quaker Cereal company has spawned many other firsts in the field of cereal products. They included:

1882: Quaker Oats was featured in the first national magazine advertising program for a breakfast cereal.
1885: Quaker Oats were packaged in square boxes after years of being sold in bulk.
1891:  Quaker Oats was the first brand to feature a recipe on its package (for oatmeal bread), as well as the the first cereal to offer a packaged premium (chinaware) in its package.
1915: Quaker Oats was the first cereal to offer a premium on its package (a cereal cooker). Later, in 1915, the familiar round Quaker Oats package was introduced.
1922: Quaker Oats was among the first convenience products with Quaker "Quick Oats".
1966: Quaker Oats introduced the first instant oatmeal.

Slogans over the years have included "Nothing is better for thee, than me"; "Live Well, Be Well"; "Warms your heart and soul"; "Does it make sense to jump out of a warm bed into a cold cereal?" and "It's the right thing to do" (Wilfred Brimley, 1987).

In 1996, the Quaker Oats Company celebrated their 120th year with the book Quaker Oats Favorite Recipe Collection: Celebrating 120 Years of Great Tasting Family Classics (Time-Life Custom Publishing ISBN 0-7835-4863-X), a collection of more than 70 recipes for everything from cookies to meat loaf.

TRIVIA NOTE: In 2005, The Quaker Oats recruited their 18th century Quaker gentleman mascot (a life-sized statue of the Quaker Oats man) to appear in their ad campaign. Standing silently in various sites around the country (at a school or along a roadside), their statue holds a tray filled of Quaker Oats goodies (Chewy Granola Bars and Fruit and Oatmeal cereal bowls) as gifts to passer-byers who greedily snatch up multiple samples. At the end of one spot, an enterprising family stops for samples and then sticks the statue in their car (through the sunroof) and drives off down the road.

The 2005 Quaker Oats campaign was very similar to a Burger King ad campaign created in 2004. As for any intentional theft of intellectual property, Ad Week (4/18/2005) reported "Rob Reilly, acd for CP+B, said both characters are brand icons, so it's natural to use them in ads. 'I don't think anyone [would] intentionally copy [the 'King'],' he said." See also - Burger King


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