The Betty Crocker brand released its first cookbook in 1942, targeting its tips, tricks and recipes toward the American homemaker — i.e. stay-at-home wives and mothers. Jump ahead to 2014, and the traditional idea of what an American family looks like and how a household is run no longer applies in the majority of cases, so rather than being left in the dust with its old-fashioned sentiments, Betty Crocker is not only transforming itself to embrace the diversity of the modern American family, but is actively pushing for recognition, understanding, and support for families of all kinds.
In its latest ad (after the jump), the brand states that “Marraige and family have changed more in the last 35 years than in the last 350.” For instance, “less than half of all American households contain a husband and wife; the number of same-sex couples living together in the US has increased by 80 percent since 2000; since 1965, the time dads spend with their kids has tripled; 40% of women are the primary providers for their families; and the percentage of new interracial marriages is six times what it was in 1960.”
The commercial goes on to point out, however, that every family, no matter the demographic differences, has something in common: where there is love, there is a family, where there is a family, there is a home, and “at the heart of every home is a homemaker.” The brand even acknowledges that term itself may seem outdated, but the concept actually isn’t; you don’t need to identify yourself as a homemaker to be one — if you are a loving member of a family who actively works to make your house a home, guess what? You’re a homemaker, and Betty Crocker is here to support you.
This is some seriously compelling re-definition and branding.
General Mills, parent company of Betty Crocker, has also announced its new partnership with the nonprofit New America public policy institute for a national survey that seeks to get a “first-person point of view on what it means to be a homemaker in America today.”
“Betty has always been a pioneer and guide for homemakers. As today’s family continues to evolve, so does Betty,” Perteet Spencer, marketing manager for Betty Crocker, said in a statement. “Our purpose is to help make a home. Better understanding of those cultural dynamics will help us provide the best products and services to meet current and future needs of families everywhere.”
The brand even provided cakes for same-sex weddings in its home state of Minnesota last year, and plans to donate cakes to couples marrying during the Twin Cities Pride event this weekend in Minneapolis, which is where General Mills is headquartered.
Spencer says that overall, Betty Crocker’s support of marriage equality has been a positive move for the brand. “Naysayers are always there, but generally the response has been really positive,” she said, “if Betty is an activist at all, Betty would be an activist for the modern homemaker.”