February 6, 2008

Updating the Quaker Oats guy!

I've been chuckling to myself while reading some of the comments on Robin's post about window signs in her meetinghouse.

The comments in particular that have me chuckling are about references to the Quaker Oats guy, because for about two weeks now, I have been wondering if today's Friends might somehow rebuke Quaker Oats by designing a contest for Friends and submitting new designs of the outdated logo.

I really think we could do this!

Get the newspapers and television media involved, announcing the contest and "taking on" the Quaker Oats company... Get kids involved... Get whole meetings involved, and even reach beyond our schisms to get all of the Religious Society of Friends involved!

I'm giddy just thinking about it. And wouldn't it be nice to have a way to reflect the global Religious Society of Friends more accurately in today's times?

Here are a few ideas off the top of my unbonneted head:

  • A group "photo" [sketch] of headshots, but of modern, diverse Friends, in a similar artistic style as the original, wearing our khakis, jeans, simple dresses--and large brimmed hats, of course!--with the ol' Quaker Oats guy mixed in (maybe standing in the back?)

  • The famous "Presence in the Midst" painting, but with Quaker Oats guy as Jesus (is that sacrilegious?)

  • Same image as the original "Presence in the Midst," in the same style as the original, but with the worshipers in khakis, blue jeans, simple dresses, etc.

  • Have a different Quaker Oats guy or gal on the different products, and change up the faces from time to time, like the classic Wheaties boxes
  • Please feel free to share your own ideas on how to get this iconic figure updated. For those who have capabilities of scanning and posting their own artistic "entries" on their blog, please go ahead and do that, and be sure to link back here and let us know about it!

    Omigosh, I can hardly keep from chuckling, just thinking about the possibilities!

    And I'll add that what really put me over the edge with this idea was the other day when I saw an ad for a product that Quaker Oats has out, and the ad included kids--kids who weren't white! And it felt like such a mockery to me, that there was ol' Mr (Master?) Quaker White Guy, beaming at the kids from his cardboard pedestal.

    I thought to myself: THAT has GOT to change.


    Second Month 2008 - While doing a search for other items related to this post and a few of the early comments, I came across this 2007 post from a Latino blogger, who shares a similar concern that I have about the presence of the Quaker Oats guy in an ad that features children of color.


    Anonymous said...

    I dunno, the Quaker Oats guy doesn't seem any more inaccurate to me than say, how God is usually imagined as an old white man and Jesus as a handsome tall young white man.

    Isn't it interesting to analyze everything from a different lens? Imagery is so important.

    Robin M. said...

    This reminds me a little of how Betty Crocker's image has changed over the years, getting younger and more olive skinned over the years.

    anj said...

    Okay - I am thinking of the Presence in the Midst with the Quaker Oats guy in the middle. And, in many ways, it points out what Allison was saying of imagery. That is, that is the thought that occurs after I quit laughing. I do agree with your last statement -- THAT has GOT to change.

    Liz Opp said...

    Allison -

    Since I wasn't raised in a Christian household, I sometimes wonder if that helps me think of Jesus/Yeshua as a Middle Eastern teacher rather than the Great White Savior. At the same time, it gives me pause when I see a poster or painting of Jesus/Yeshua depicted as a man with darker skin... (I really liked the article that accompanies this image, fyi).

    Robin -

    I looked up Betty Crocker on Google images and found this webpage, which includes in the accompanying article some audio clips about a woman who researched just who was--or wasn't--Betty Crocker.

    Anj -

    Great to see you here and elsewhere, of late. Yes, some of the images I initially offer up are intended to be on the outrageous side; others are intended to make us think.

    On a different note, Jeanne mentioned to me that there is a You Tube clip or other video of young Friends who redesigned (or played with) the image of the Quaker Oats guy, but I haven't come across it online in my initial search. If someone comes across that or a similar video or has other information about such a project--humorous or serious--I hope you'll let us know.


    P.S. I just updated this post to include a link to this 2007 post by a Latino blogger about something similar.

    Robin M. said...

    And a while ago, Lorcan posted
    this photo.

    Robin M. said...

    This updated version just irritates me. I think it's because Jesus is no longer in the midst but behind the pastor and praise band.

    Liz Opp said...

    Thanks to those additional links, Robin. They give me more food for thought and grist for the mill.


    kevin roberts said...

    Now, what's so unusual about Quakers and broad-brimmed hats? I rather think the Quaker Oats Man looks somewhat elegant.

    The Amish are scrutinizing the Quaker Oats methodology themselves:


    In Christ,

    Zach Alexander said...

    Liz, this probably isn't what you're going for, but just for laughs, perhaps you haven't seen the Web 2.0 Quaker Oats guy?

    Warm regards,

    natcase said...

    So why not fight fire with fire? Presbyterian Oats! Episcopalian Oats!Amish Oats!

    Heck, Shi'ite Oats, Lubavitcher Oats, Taoist Oats...

    Atheist Oats, Materialist Oats, Ayn Rand Oats, Capitalist Oligarch Oats...

    A vision of a whole line of these is a little boggling.

    Unknown said...

    How about we capitalize on the recognition of Quaker Oats and misconceptions to "update" folks about Quakers. I've created 2 versions of posters we've used here in Eau Claire (WI) at tables - and the combined striking images and humor have really helped people find out the Quakers Aren't Extinct, but we're not necessarily stuck in the past, either:

    Quakersaurus 1

    Quakersaurus 1

    Other people can create a log-in to SpeakingTruth.org and add their own images/posters (videos, recordings, etc)

    Unknown said...

    Actually, that second Quakersaurus 1 was Quakersaurus 2

    Liz Opp said...

    Thanks to Helpsmeet whose recent comment and links got me to click on the links each of you included, too.