Aunt Jemima Pours Money into First-Ever Social Media Campaign
Aunt Jemima, an iconic American brand dating back to 1889, is flipping over social media.
The brand’s first-ever social media campaign features a Facebook page that provides a behind-the-scenes look at how Aunt Jemima’s frozen pancakes, waffles and French toast are made. The theme of the campaign is “Every Batch Is Made From Scratch.”
The video-propelled social media campaign stars Aunt Jemima “pancake purveyors” Jennifer Franklin, Charley Schumaker and Susie Tomlinson. Those three employees work at the Aunt Jemima plant in Jackson, Tenn.
“I want to show people exactly how the pancakes and waffles are made. The fact that they are mixed, poured and flipped on cast iron griddles and cast iron waffle irons will really surprise folks,” Schumaker said.
Franklin, Schumaker and Tomlinson were chosen for the campaign by co-workers. They appear in a three-part video series and will appear at promotional events.
Another element of the campaign will be a Twitter account (@LiveFromTheLine).
PR firm Weber Shandwick developed the social media campaign.
“We think this is our communication going forward. This is just the beginning,” Andy Reichgut, vice president of marketing at Pinnacle Foods Group LLC, told Adweek.
Pinnacle Foods Group markets Aunt Jemima’s frozen breakfast products under a licensing agreement with The Quaker Oats Co. PepsiCo Inc. owns Quaker Oats.
In 1889, Chris Rutt and Charles Underwood of the Pearl Milling Co. in St. Joseph, Mo., developed Aunt Jemima, the first pancake mix. Quaker Oats bought the Aunt Jemima brand in 1926.
Over the years, critics have complained that the Aunt Jemima character perpetuates a racial stereotype of African-American women. Aunt Jemima was inspired by a kerchief-wearing “mammy” character who appeared in minstrel shows in the late 1880s.
The first Aunt Jemima, Nancy Green, was born a slave in 1834. She signed an exclusive contract that gave her the right to portray the character for the rest of her life, according to the Museum of Public Relations. As Aunt Jemima, Green cooked pancakes, sang songs and told stories of the Old South.
Anna Robinson, described by Aunt Jemima “as a large, gregarious woman with the face of an angel,” traveled across the country to promote the brand from 1933 until her death in 1951.