The Birth of the Generic Brand Name
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Sunday, March 20, 2011
By Carolyn Wyman
An interesting look at the most inventive American foods that have impacted our way of life, from TV dinners and Kool-Aid to Wonder Bread and Jell-O.
Better Than Homemade is an interesting mix of history, social commentary, and classic brand imagery. This collection of mini case studies of the most iconic American foods is an easy read with something for everyone. Whether you are curious about the origin of brands you grew up with or simply an advertising nerd like me, this book is one to consider. I may only be in my 20's, but I enjoyed getting the chance to reminisce about the products from my childhood - Tang I drank every morning, Pop Tarts I ate for snack, SpaghettiOs my babysitter served me for lunch, and Cheez Whiz my brothers and I drew faces with on road trips. The brands featured are broken up into sections according the way they have impacted American culture. Wyman's groupings include:
- "Homemaker Helpers" - foods like Birds Eye Frozen Vegetables and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese that made feeding a family that much easier.
- "Powerful Packages" - products like Jiffy Pop and Reddi-whip, brought to us with new ways to sell, store, and prepare foods.
- "Triumphs of Technology" - foods that according to Wyman, "improve on Mother Nature," such as Tang or Sweet 'N Low.
- "Indestructibles and Recyclables" - a.k.a. SPAM and Cheez Whiz, need I say more.
And the best for last…
- "Marketing Marvels" - foods that consumers have come to love thanks to the great business of advertising, often due to characters like Little Debbie and the Jolly Green Giant.