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  • 1. 'Sun-Maid girl' makeover sparks controversy by Brett Michael Dykes Tuesday, December 1, 2009 In the annals of advertising imagery, few brand symbols are more iconic and recognizable than the Sun-Maid raisin girl. Nevertheless, Sun-Maid recently decided to join Betty Crocker, Aunt Jemima and Mrs. Butterworth's in giving the female face of their product a substantial makeover from a young, early 20th-century girl into a buxom, modern young woman, leading some to say that the newly made-over raisin girl looks like a Barbie Doll in Amish attire Since 1915, the face of Sun-Maid has been Lorraine Sun-Maid Collett Petersen, who, according to the company's website , "was discovered drying her black hair curls in the sunny backyard of her parents' home in Fresno, California." Petersen was then asked to pose for a watercolor painting holding a basket of grapes while wearing a sunbonnet. In the years since, the company has tweaked its trademark design occasionally to keep up with the times, but every variation has always been based on the original pose by Petersen. The new computer-animated version of the Sun-Maid girl currently featured in television advertisements is a departure from the classic design that harkened back to a time when "life was much simpler, more rural, a lot less hectic." Naturally, the revamped look hasn't gone unnoticed, rankling both ends of the political spectrum. The blog for conservative magazine The Weekly Standard noted that the new Sun-Maid girl looks "as if Julia Roberts decided to don a red bonnet and start picking grapes," while the feminist website Jezebel.com remarked that it looks as if she's had “some implants.” Sun-Maid Though the new look for the raisin girl has been garnering attention of late, the changes to the 90-year-old icon were actually introduced three years ago. At the time, Sun-Maid president Barry Kriebel said that the decision to make changes was inspired by the desire to educate consumers about healthy living choices. "This is as good a time as any to get on the wave of health and nutrition,'' he said. Kriebel also noted that he felt the new look was a reasonable modernization, saying "You're not going to see her dancing or kicking up her heels out in the vineyard, but have her do what
  • 2. is appropriate for her to do, based on her history but also being a contemporary person living in the 21st century.'' Additionally, there's been talk that the new Sun-Maid girl might be given a name and featured in future advertisements doing some of the things modern women typically do, like going to the gym, shopping at the market, and speaking multiple languages, particularly languages native to countries where Sun-Maid, the world's largest producer and processor of raisins and other dried fruits, sells raisins. However, the image on all Sun-Maid product packaging will remain the same, as the new version will only be featured in product advertisements.