Quaker Oats retiring Aunt Jemima brand, local marketing experts analyze company decision

NOW: Quaker Oats retiring Aunt Jemima brand, local marketing experts analyze company decision

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Quaker Oats is retiring its Aunt Jemima syrup and products because of its ties to racial stereotypes.

It's getting rid of the controversial logo and also changing the name.

This is all happening after 131 years that the image, based in slavery, was created.

“I think when you have brands that want to be slice-of-life, and want to be authentic, when you have brands that perpetuate stereotypes it’s not successful," said Ebony Ssali, brand and creative director or Ssali Media Group.

Though her image has evolved over time, Aunt Jemima was created as a Black woman initially dressed as a minstrel character.

“Representation is key to people forming their own perception of self and self-worth, and traditionally in this country, Black Americans have been given their identity by other groups, particularly white Americans," Creative Marketing Resources Chief Strategy Officer David Bowles said.

"So when we see negative representation, caricatures, people who don't understand why blackface is problematic, the issue in all these cases is that Black people are portrayed in a certain role that limits who we are," he continued.

Quaker’s parent company, PepsiCo, said it’s taking a “hard look” at its portfolio and customer values.

“And I think they know that they bottom line needs to reflect dignity and inclusion and diversity or they will lose that dollar," Ssali said.

Other companies have now pledged to change, including Uncle Ben’s Rice and Mrs. Butterworth.

But though this is happening, the experts hope it goes beyond simply updating a brand.

“I challenge a lot of these organizations to go further to say we’re going to really invest in Black wealth creation and economic opportunity," Bowles said.

Quaker Oats and PepsiCo have both pledged millions of dollars to support the Black community.

New packaging on Aunt Jemima products is slated to appear later this year.

A new name will come at a later date.

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