Several of you followed my posts about the ad campaign for Glory Foods in which a woman named Shirley appeared in commercials and on the company website as a mammy-like character coming in to save the day in a white woman’s kitchen. Since that time, the ad campaign developed by the Brandon Agency of South Carolina has proven to be an epic fail–the television ads have been withdrawn and Shirley no longer walks across the company website with that “Lawd, honey” kind of persona that takes you back, WAY BACK, to the Aunt Jemima of old.
Shirley has returned, though, but now in a toned-down version of her former self. Instead of rushing in to help the white woman as she did in the original commercials, Shirley is actually demonstrating recipes in her own kitchen! The production levels of these videos, which are not commercials, suggest that they are clearly done on a smaller budget. This is too bad, because now Shirley is a much more respectable personality. Why didn’t the Brandon Agency (whose entire leadership team is white) show her that respect to begin with? I am left to wonder if it has something to do with the fact that McCall Farms (which now owns Glory Foods) and the Brandon Agency, who represents the company, are both located in South Carolina–probably the least progressive state in the Union when it comes to race. Let’s give them the benefit of a doubt and say that it is unfair to stamp them with the “they’re from South Carolina” stereotype. Then I’m still left to wonder, why? And, why not develop new commercials and give Shirley a second chance, but this time as the respectable woman she is meant to be?
Here’s the new Shirley: