Brand of the Day: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Wonder Bread

Awkward beginnings, but a great first ad

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The initial popularity of Wonder Bread came from a fear of food-borne illnesses. Take note, entrepreneurs? 

In the early 1900s, Americans were worried about disease related to the cleanliness of their local bakeries, so many opted for factory-made bread, which they saw as clean and healthy. And, as bad as it sounds, the fact that the bread was white seemed to help soothe anxieties—especially when health columnists of the time piled on. Oh, the history of bread. How vast and complicated and racist. Let's not get further into that here. 

Instead, let's focus on the interesting way Wonder Bread was marketed! In 1921 in Indianapolis, consumers were teased in a print ad, before the product was even released, that a "wonder" was coming their way. Hmm … what could it be? The tease piqued interest, and on May 21 of that year, Wonder Bread arrived. A whiter, irresistibly fluffier bread than consumers were used to.

Soon after its arrival on the market, many industrial bakers were adding all sorts of ingredients to white bread, eventually including vitamins, and that was reflected in the marketing campaigns, like the spot above from the 1950s. 

Social Media Profile (as of 10/23/14)

Facebook Likes: 39,685

Twitter Followers: 2,857

Instagram Followers: 232

Wonder Bread tends to use the same posts and voice across all of its social platforms. 

Recent Advertising

Recent spots from Canada have been delightful, with people in voiceovers having conversations with loved ones—chats that are then cleverly mirrored in the prep of a sandwich. The fact that you don't see the people only adds to the universality of the ads. 

Fast Facts 

@KristinaMonllos Kristina Monllos is a senior editor for Adweek.
Publish date: October 24, 2014 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT