Was Mrs. Butterworth a real person? The story behind the brand’s identity revealed

Filiz Mustafa

Mrs. Butterworth’s is the latest brand to rethink their product following the news that Quaker Oats will completely replace their Aunt Jemima brand.

The Black Lives Matter movement has opened a global conversation about social justice and equal human rights.

Many fashion and beauty companies have finally taken into account the importance of incluvisivity and diversity as people on social media advocate for equality across different industries.

One of the latest brands to take action is Mrs. Butterworth’s which follows in the footsteps of Quaker Oats and Uncle Ben’s.

But was Mrs. Butterworth a real person? Here’s what we found.

Photo by Ron Adar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Was Mrs. Butterworth a real person?

According to several reports, Mrs. Butterworth is based on actress Thelma “Butterfly” McQueen who reportedly modeled for the brand.

She played a character called Prissy in the 1939 movie Gone with the Wind.

Thelma has appeared in movies and TV programmes between 1939 and 1989 and won a daytime Emmy award for her role in ABC Afterschool Specials in 1980.

However, according to The Courier Daily, commercials featuring the syrup of Mrs. Butterworth were voiced by white actress Mary Kay Bergman. She remained the voice behind the brand for many years.

Does Mrs. Butterworth has a first name?

According to the same report by The Courier Daily, Mrs. Butterworth has a first name. Her name is Joy.

Mrs. Butterworth’s first name was revealed during a contest ‘Guess The Name’ back in 2009.

At the time, Andy Reichgut, vice president of marketing at Pinnacle Foods, explained that people questioned the brand’s identity following TV commercials which is why they decided to reveal Mrs. Butterworth’s real name.

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ConAgra Brands issues a statement

On Wednesday, June 17th, Conagra Brands issued a statement to address their decision to rebrand Mrs. Butterworth.

The company said (via Cision Pr Newswire):

“The Mrs. Butterworth’s brand, including its syrup packaging, is intended to evoke the images of a loving grandmother. We stand in solidarity with our Black and Brown communities and we can see that our packaging may be interpreted in a way that is wholly inconsistent with our values.”

The statement continued: “We understand that our actions help play an important role in eliminating racial bias and as a result, we have begun a complete brand and packaging review on Mrs. Butterworth’s.”

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