So they invented a person. For her first name, Betty. “It was really nice and sweet, and everybody knew a Betty,” says Marks. Crocker was the last name of a well-liked company executive. The advertising department sought out female employees to respond to the letters, and eventually staffed an entire department with women who knew their way around a kitchen. “It all grew rather quickly from there,” Marks says.
Ever since, the image of a brunette white woman has stared out of advertisements, food packaging, and the pages of cookbooks. She was fictional, a marketing tool used to sell Gold Medal Flour, Bisquick, and other American staples. But at a time when women were discouraged from working outside the home, the real women behind the dozens of cookbooks, hundreds of advertisements, and thousands of letters emblazoned with the name “Betty Crocker” turned an illustration and a name into a corporate powerhouse.