Betty Crocker is a brand name and trademark of General Mills, an American Fortune 500 corporation. The name was first developed by the Washburn Crosby Company in 1921 as a way to give a personalized response to consumer product questions. The name Betty was selected because it was viewed as a cheery, all-American name. It was paired with the last name Crocker, in honor of William Crocker, a Washburn Crosby Company director.
Marjorie Husted was the creator, together the advertiser Bruce Barton, of Betty Crocker. She was a home economist and businesswoman under whose supervision the image of Betty Crocker became an icon for General Mills. In 1921, Washburn Crosby merged with five or more other milling companies to form General Mills.
In 1924, Betty acquired a voice with the debut of “The Betty Crocker Cooking School of the Air” on one station in Minneapolis. It was the country’s first radio cooking show, and Agnes White was selected to portray Betty Crocker. The show proved popular, and eventually was carried nationally on NBC Radio, with Agnes as Betty. Over the next two decades, Agnes would anonymously portray Betty Crocker on the air and at cooking schools.
In 1929, Betty Crocker coupons were introduced. Inserted in bags of flour, they could be used to reduce the cost of Oneida Limited flatware. By 1932, this scheme had become so popular that General Mills began to offer an entire set of flatware; the pattern was called “Friendship” (later renamed “Medality”). In 1937 the coupons were printed on the outside of packages, copy on which told purchasers to “save and redeem for big savings on fine kitchen and home accessories in our catalog”.