Katie and the Cube

Whereas Betty Crocker and her ilk were hardly figures guaranteed to generate a sexual frisson among consumers, Katie ( OXO and J.Walter Thompson') was damned attractive and let you know it. You didn't have wear tightly bolted collars and be sensible - you could have an open neck, hate the kitchen and be distinctly flirtatious. "Basically we want the idea that the chap is after the girl for sexiness as well as for her good cooking, and we need a slogan to keep us on that line." Joan Drummond coined the celebrated copyline "OXO gives a meal man appeal." A previous copyline had been OXO works wonders, but then so did the Double Diamond Beer ads.

The best account of the development of the Katie fiction is given in John Pearson and Graham Turner's The Persuasion Industry , Eyre & Spottiswoode, London 1965. Katie was launched as a TV advertising feature in October 1958, with the actress Mary Holland (at first on Sunday evening, in three sequential episodes). In 1960 a stouter husband replaced the willowy orginal and although the profile of the OXO user did appeal more to the OXO customer, there was no significant rise of people buying, although those that did buy, bought more.

See also Penny Vicenzi, Taking Stock, over 75 years of the OXO cube, Willow Books, London 1985.