Uncle Ben’s Plans to Change the Rice Maker’s ‘Brand Identity’
In light of the movements regarding racism against the black community, many companies have taken a look at their own branding and recognized some racial stereotypes that could benefit from a change.
Pancake mix and syrup company Aunt Jemima is one of those brands. The Quaker Oats-owned company just announced that they will be changing the Aunt Jemima name as well as its iconic black woman character to help in the fight for racial equality. And now Uncle Ben’s rice is following suit.
Mars Inc., the parent company of Uncle Ben’s, announced in a statement that they will be taking this time to revamp and evolve their brand, which displays a black man on their packaging so that there’s no longer racial bias associated with it.
The image of the man came from the depiction of a waiter at the restaurant named Frank Brown, where one of the co-founders, Gordon Harwell, came up with the idea for the rice brand. The name Uncle Ben came form a well-known Texas farmer known for his rice, who was, of course, called “Uncle Ben.”
The name and brand was founded in 1947, and could really use an update, the company acknowledged, especially in light of what’s going on in the world right now.
“Racism has no place in society. We stand in solidarity with the Black community, our Associates and our partners in the fight for social justice,” Mars said. “We know to make the systemic change needed, it’s going to take a collective effort from all of us — individuals, communities and organizations of all sizes around the world.”
To hear more from the company regarding the current issues and impending changes to the Uncle Ben’s brand, check out the video below.
Do you find the Uncle Ben’s brand name and image offensive? What do you think we can expect from the company in terms of changing the stereotype?