I’m Chiquita Banana
And I’ve come to say
My bananas bring a smile in a simple way!
In her early years as a brand mascot, Miss Chiquita found fame in the fruit aisle as an animated banana. Drawn in 1944 by cartoonist Dik Browne, creator and illustrator of Hägar the Horrible and Hi and Loiscomics, Miss Chiquita put a personal face on the United Fruit Company (now known as Chiquita Brands International). She showcased a festive and fun personality as the resident expert for everything you ever wanted to know about bananas.
Wearing a red skirt and wide hat filled with fruit, the 1944 commercial spot featured Miss Chiquita swaying and singing along to her catchy jingle while educating viewers on why bananas have to ripen to be at their most delicious. (Best consumed when flecked with brown and with a golden hue, she advises.)
Robert Foreman at BBDO originally created the jingle, with Garth Montgomery and Len MacKenzie as the writers of the original lyrics. Patti Clayton provided her singing voice; the first of many Miss Chiquita singers to come. As for the background music? MacKenzie and the BBDO staff used their own office talent, a piano, and box of paper clips shaken to simulate the sound of maracas.
By the end of World War II, the jingle and Miss Chiquita were a hit with audiences who were going bananas for the yellow fruit. Riding on the trending wave, the UFC began adding Chiquita stickers to banana bunches that sold to further promote them. Since 1963, stickers bearing the brand mascot’s likeness have been appearing on Chiquita bananas everywhere.
As the decades progressed, so did Miss Chiquita’s look as she was slowly brought to life. Oscar Grillo, artist and creator of The Pink Panther, transformed her from animated banana to a woman in 1987, reflecting the image the public had of Miss Chiquita as a real person. She still wears a hat laden with fruit cornucopia, her red skirt swapped out for a stylish blue dress and heels. Since 2003, actress Jenny Canales has been the public face of Chiquita when she was chosen through a national search to become the legendary icon.
Now over 70 years old, Miss Chiquita remains the indisputable first lady of fruit and still brings a smile to the faces of banana fans everywhere. We’re excited to see how she will celebrate her 75th birthday when 2019 arrives – no doubt she’ll be just as a-peeling on that big day as she is now!
Image credit: Chiquita.com