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#TBT: The Bare Facts Behind the Coppertone Girl

Thu, June 05, 2014

by DeAnna DeCaluwe, Creative Communication & Design

With summer now finally upon us, I thought I would dedicate this week’s TBT post to a summertime advertising classic: the Coppertone girl.

Coppertone dates back to the early 1940s, when Benjamin Green, a pharmacist, created a lotion to protect skin from the sun. His lotion, “Red Vet Pet,” a veterinary petroleum-based compound, was supplied to US soldiers in WWII. Following the war, he developed a more consumer-friendly version that would eventually become Coppertone suntan cream.

According to the Coppertone Wikipedia page, the Coppertone girl concept was originally developed by Tally Embry Advertising in 1953. However, it was not until 1959 that Joyce Ballantyne’s famous work was selected from a group of 5 artists that submitted renderings for the Coppertone project. She was awarded a commission of $2,500 for her drawing, which was modeled after her then 3-year-old daughter, Cheri Brand.  

Joyce Ballantyne is also known for creating the original “Pampers” baby.

Coppertone Girl, 1958

The Coppertone girl is still in use today as part of the Coppertone logo, however, the image has evolved stylistically. The once very tan little girl now has a fair complexion, and her once controversial bare bottom has been covered.

As for the real Coppertone girl, Cheri Brand Irving now manages a gym and fitness center in Ocala, Florida. 

To see more of Joyce Ballantyne’s work, click here.

Sources:

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coppertone_(sunscreen)

Chicago Sun-Times: http://www.suntimes.com/business/7409531-420/whatever-happened-to-the-coppertone-girl.html

National Public Radio: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5415067

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