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December 07, 2010


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Rusty Cawley, APR

The secret that so many brands have forgotten is: The more you train your customers to use your product, the more they love your brand.

Christina Pappas

I love the way brands like this solve a problem and soft sell their product. I mean, the recipes do require the person to buy Jell-O - right? But the person doesn't feel forced or that they were sold to. How can B2B do this? We provide engaging content, share our POV and present ideas to overcome business challenges, but feel that we still have not cracked the code on selling within the content. How can we present a solution to a problem by using our product in a way that makes the reader not feel that they are being sold to?

David Meerman Scott

Rusty & Christina - well said.

So many people think that creating valuable content for buyers is "new." THings like this JELL-O guide show that it has been around for decades.

Russ Somers

I remember my mom using this book when I was a kid. We definitely bought more Jell-o as a consequence.

What's the difference between advertorial and brand journalism? Other than the first is not cool and the second one is? And, for extra credit, can anyone answer that question without using the word "transparency" or implying that consumers of advertorial are less smart than consumers of brand journalism?

John White

Right. Then some marketing cat (for that is what they called them in those days) heard Bill Cosby talk about Jell-O in his "Chicken Heart" routine on the album Wonderfulness and realized celebrity endorsement was the way to go. Who needs information of value when you've got a superstar in your corner?

David Meerman Scott

Russ - In an advertorial, you purchase media space to place your information (a magazine page for example). With brand journalism, you publish yourself.

Oliver Cheatham

The concept is not new but the mediums in which we use to interact with our audience has changed.

Very interesting though.


Providing valuable content over time certainly does the trick of keeping the consumer engaged and the recipe book is perfect example for it. Like Rusty mentioned more you train about your products more they will love it.

Susan Monroe

Your post sent me to my cookbook shelf where I found "Cooking for 1 or 2," a wonderfully valuable little tome from the '80s sponsored by West Coast Federal Savings and Loan. The words that come to mind when I look at it are "useful," "helpful," and "Gee, West Coast is a great organization. I should be banking there."

Great post.

Carolyn Winter

David - I am resisting going into the closet to pull out all of my grandmother's recipe booklets, and freebies from the newspapers for iron-on embroidery patterns and knitting patterns.

Cookbooks of the Jello kind also proliferated in earlier decades to help promote the sale of appliances like refrigerators, freezers and stoves. The average household at one point was very reluctant to start using them to cook but the tempting ideas in the cookbooks helped to win the sale. Looking at these brand journalism pieces now, the one thing that pops out is the effectiveness of the photos that put you the reader into the picture. You can see yourself making a fabulous green jello ring for the guys watching the superbowl! LOL

Omar Halabieh

David - The value of brand journalism in my opinion has decreased over the years. Particularly with the flood of free information made available by the web - the true value of this information is more so on its source and associated community endorsement (reviews etc.). To give an example, I am much more likely to try out a Jello recipe that has been extensively reviewed on allrecipes.com then some recipe posted by General Foods. It's true that brand journalism presents solutions, but these will always be seen with some skepticism.


Fran Dowling

I just opened martha sterwats Aug. living mag and there was joys of Jello book. I got my stool out in my kitchen and there it was in my cookbook cabinet.. Published in 1973. The New JoysOfJello.How i loved this book.Im going to make the jello poke cake tomorrow. I cant wait..Im going to take it to the family gathring in Aug..I cant wait to see thier faces.It will bring memories to all.To bad my mom is gone now .She would love it.. fran from Chicago

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