The Columbia Pictures Torch Lady
Now here’s a strong lady we can definitely get behind. Though her original form was as a female Roman soldier, complete with shield and stick of wheat, we think this classy Statue of Liberty-esque lady, standing on a pedestal with a beacon of light as if to give us all something to aspire to, is just as powerful.
Though Betty Crocker’s face has changed throughout the years, one thing has stayed the same: she’s a wholesome, motherly American icon that everyone loves — well, anyone who likes making brownies in half an hour, anyway. In 1945, she was even named the second most popular American woman, just edged out by Eleanor Roosevelt. What it says that the American public liked a fictional woman over almost everyone else, we don’t know.
Land O’Lakes Indian Maiden
Not only is the Indian maiden, who’s been around since 1928, giving us a fine example of the Droste effect, she also gets points for the scandal she can create if you fold the packaging a certain way… you know what we’re talking about. She’s like that girl who looked sweet, but always got you in trouble in high school.
Part of why we love this adorable (and much-parodied) sunscreen icon is that she would never fly today — she’s much too scandalous. But she’s also just a perfect embodiment of little girl fun on the beach — playful and sunny. Plus, any role that gave Jodie Foster her first acting job is cool by us.
Morton Salt Umbrella Girl
For some reason, we’ve always imagined the Morton Salt Umbrella girl as an impish Eloise figure, on the run from her parents’ kitchen and spilling her snitched box of salt through the streets of London. That concept may be mostly unfounded, but it’s why we love her.
Elsie the Cow
The always-grinning Elsie has been the logo for the Borden Dairy Company since 1936. She never fails to make us smile. Fun fact: though it’s slightly morbid in retrospect to have a cow front a glue company, Elsie is in fact married to Elmer the bull, of Elmer’s glue. In case you were wondering, yes, they have children: Beulah, Beauregard, Larabee and Lobelia.
As Ad Age says, “Few commercial icons deserve to be called “cultural touchstones” of significant political and social change. But the Aunt Jemima trademark is one of them.” Though Aunt Jemima had her share of criticisms, she changed with the times, but she still exudes that warm, happy sparkle that comes with a pancake breakfast.
Sure, they’re completely ridiculous — sexy sodas? But we love them because they’ve fully embraced their own campy craziness. They’re European, after all. Come on, you know you want to Fanta.
We’ve always loved the campy, outlandish Carmen Miranda, and as far as we can tell, Miss Chiquita is her slightly more conservative little sister. Plus, given that the original mascot was a dancing banana wearing a fruit hat (next stop cannibalism?), we’re even more fond of the smiling human version.
Yes, another syrup mascot, we know. But we love the intertextuality of the fact that she’s not just the mascot for the syrup bottle… she is the syrup bottle. All the better to bring happiness to breakfasters. After all, her first name is Joy.