The initial popularity of Wonder Bread came from a fear of food-borne illnesses. Take note, entrepreneurs?
In the early 1900s, Americans were worried about disease related to the cleanliness of their local bakeries, so many opted for factory-made bread, which they saw as clean and healthy. And, as bad as it sounds, the fact that the bread was white seemed to help soothe anxieties—especially when health columnists of the time piled on. Oh, the history of bread. How vast and complicated and racist. Let's not get further into that here.
Instead, let's focus on the interesting way Wonder Bread was marketed! In 1921 in Indianapolis, consumers were teased in a print ad, before the product was even released, that a "wonder" was coming their way. Hmm … what could it be? The tease piqued interest, and on May 21 of that year, Wonder Bread arrived. A whiter, irresistibly fluffier bread than consumers were used to.
Soon after its arrival on the market, many industrial bakers were adding all sorts of ingredients to white bread, eventually including vitamins, and that was reflected in the marketing campaigns, like the spot above from the 1950s.
— Wonder® Bread (@WonderBread) October 23, 2014
Wonder Bread tends to use the same posts and voice across all of its social platforms.
Recent spots from Canada have been delightful, with people in voiceovers having conversations with loved ones—chats that are then cleverly mirrored in the prep of a sandwich. The fact that you don't see the people only adds to the universality of the ads.
- Elmer Cline coined the name Wonder Bread after being inspired by the International Balloon Race at the Indianapolis Speedway. That's where the brand got the balloon imagery on the packaging, too.
- To celebrate the brand's 80th birthday in 2001, Wonder Bread got a hot air balloon of its own that visits states from Florida to California.
- Wonder Bread was the first brand to offer sliced bread in 1930.