Posted by Dale Buss on November 21, 2011 11:01 AM
Yes, she's had a few cosmetic makeovers through the decades, to make sure she doesn't look school-marmish or like June Cleaver on the cake-mix boxes. But now that she's just turned 90 years old, Betty Crocker is undergoing one of the biggest changes ever: She's going digital. And that may be the best way for General Mills' baking-brand spokeswoman (a persona created in 1921 to answer home bakers' questions) to make it comfortably into the next century.
Betty's birthday celebration has been at the center of a new campaign by the brand that has included new cupcake recipes (Red Velvet Triple Stack and Ooey Gooey Pumpkin Caramel varieties sound particularly enticing), a promotional trip to the birthday "bash" at Betty Crocker Kitchens in Minneapolis attended by a 24-year-old Arizonan who won a contest, and a new version of the iconic Betty Crocker "Big Red" cookbook. Betty was already on Twitter and Facebook, but now she's got a new online destination that includes 1,500 recipes, 1,100 all-new photographs, an expanded store, and access to 85 videos and 400 additional recipes.
The timing of the birthday celebration of "The Original First Lady of Food" — does that make Michelle Obama a copycat? — is perfect with the comfort-food influence of the winter holidays within reach. But General Mills executives say they're aiming for something longer-lasting, as well, than a mere promotional bump for a brand doyenne who has aged so well.
"It's an honor to have been a part of so many generations," said Kristen Olson, food editor with Betty Crocker, in a statement that added: "We look forward to another 90 years of inspiring the next generation of cooks. We will continue to watch food trends, develop recipes and be a great food resource, delivering it all in new and modern ways."