Pep Cereal

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In 1939, corporate powerhouse Kellogg Company transformed their whole-wheat cereal brand Pep, into something that revolutionized the breakfast industry. Pep was the first cereal to be advertised as vitamin fortified, enriched with vitamins B and D as part of William Keith Kellogg’s mission to increase the nutritional content of his products. The altered product was advertised through many mass media outlets as a healthy, energizing alternative to their competitor’s average breakfast options. Pep cereal was massively advertised through many media outlets, one common black and white advertisement appeared in many magazines and comic books throughout the early 1940’s. It featured a husband crediting his wife’s beauty to the amount of housework she was capable of after eating Pep. The 1939 Kellogg’s advertisement for the cereal Pep uses gender roles, flawed female identity and patriarchy to sell their product. The Kellogg’s Pep ad uses stereotypical gender roles to encourage the consumer to buy their product. The ad portrays a handsome man dressed in business attire coming home to his wife. The style of his suit and general presentation of the husband hints towards the widely accepted idea that it was the man’s job is to be the breadwinner and provide for his family. The husband in the advertisement fits the hegemonic model of masculinity, the exclusive idea of maleness and its reinforcement of certain characteristics (O'Brien & Szeman, 2010). The stereotypical wife is dressed in a conservative yet stylish dress covered with an apron and accessorized with a feather duster. Her appearance complies with the role that was believed a woman should fulfill; beautiful and well-kept while also being the perfect housewife. These husband and wife gender roles were widely accepted during the 1930-40’s, causing Kellogg’s to use them in their media advertisements. They were not just selling cereal; they were selling the consumer the idea that they would become these idealized...
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