Thursday, February 19, 2009

Orville Redenbacher

Orville Redenbacher is the first name in popcorn. He began growing his own popping corn at the age of 12. The money he made from this small business was enough to send him to college. After college, he actually made his fortune in fertilizer, but continually worked on developing a hybrid version of corn that was ideal for popping. By the early 1970’s, his local business had gained enough notoriety that he began to sell the popcorn out of grocery stores. In 1972, Redenbacher first appeared in a national television ad, promoting his “lighter, fluffier” version of popcorn, and his name soon because synonymous with popcorn.

He sold the company to Hunt-Wesson in 1976, but remained on as spokesman for his brand until his death in 1995. Popcorn was an obsession for Redenbacher, who, through Hunt-Wesson, introduced flavored popcorns starting in the late 1980’s, including such memorable favorites as chili and barbeque. The Redenbacher brand remained an innovator throughout the decade, introducing the first stable microwavable popcorn in 1983 and a microwavable light popcorn in 1989. Hunt-Wesson was acquired by Con-Agra Foods in 1990.

From humble beginnings on the family farm in Indiana, Redenbacher combined his passion for innovation and some savvy marketing to develop a brand of popcorn that has been making movies more enjoyable for decades. For all this, I’ll even forgive him for those creepy posthumous commercials they made in the late 1990’s.

Still marketing the man

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