This month Ad Age pays tribute to women who sell with their “100 Most Influential Women in Advertising” issue. As part of that theme, the publication chose The Top 10 Female Ad Icons of All Time and, of course, Miss Chiquita of Chiquita Brands International, is on the list.
The anthropomorphized banana with a South American flair was first created in 1944 to help brand something previously thought unbrandable—produce. Dik Browne, who also drew the Campbell Soup “kids” and “Hagar the Horrible,” created the first incarnation of Miss Chiquita and an animated 70-second spot that appeared only in movie theaters was made to instruct North Americans about when a banana is ripe for eating and what kind of recipes taste great with banana in them. Banana salad? Who knew?
But Miss Chiquita is probably most widely known because of her appearance on the iconic blue sticker that appears on each bunch of bananas Chiquita sells in the grocery store. Those stickers came along in 1963—decades before so-called guerilla marketers started cleverly sticking messages on everything from produce to eggs.
In fact, though both Latina spokeswomen and the in-store product sticker are ideas that seem relatively new, Chiquita has been doing both for decades. The banana with a fruit hat was changed into a woman in 1987, but Chiquita says they still place their iconic stickers on each bunch of bananas by hand to avoid bruising.
It just goes to show what a little attention to detail can get you—an iconic brand that spans almost 70 years.