Sunday, 2 October 2016

boxy, boxy lady

Though more or less just reflecting the marketing environment of the times, one forgets what sort of ethnographical insights can be gleaned from ephemera, as in this interesting portrait of the mascot Miss Cora Gated that Box Vox furnishes. The niche blog that is focused on vintage and innovative packaging tells the story of this vixen (foxy lady) dressed in a box that was created in 1953 by advertising executives for the concern Hinde & Dauch, the authoritative manufacturer of corrugated (pleated) boxes.
Miss Gated capitalised on all the popular conceits of the day, including sports stars, Hollywood and Broadway productions, promotional items and toys but also—perhaps uncomfortably, inserted herself into literature and touched on social issues of the past that were apparently acceptable topics of polite conversation (or at least the milieu of publicity) of the 1950s, like the Underground Railroad and slaves escaping to freedom. It’s a really fascinating glimpse into what was considered in good taste for that era and where ads might gain a purchase (I think the bounds of advertising-space and sponsorship change too and not necessarily in proportion). Snap, Crackle and Pop probably never broached controversial or serious societal issues and Green Giant never admitted to his association with the Symbionese Liberation Army or whatever happened to Sprout after that incident with the Monsanto laboratory. A colourful candy, while not a metaphor for potential terroristic elements having infiltrated the general refugee population, did go monochrome so not to take away from the pride movement. Who’ll remember that gesture or that stunt and its place in the future? Now I am wondering about the secret or simply forgotten careers of mascots. The world may never know.