Sun- Maid and California Raisins

There are actually two advertising characters on the Sun-Maid California Raisin bank; the cheerful Sun-Maid, wearing her red bonnet is shown on the raisin box and the anthropomorphic raisin man, standing by the box. Photograph by Mary Jane Lamphier.

Raisins are 100% fruit. They are grapes, dried in the sun, cholesterol free and fat free. There is not any salt or sugar added to Sun- Maid Raisins either. I always have them on hand and store them in a sealed container in the refrigerator until it is time to use them in cereal, breads, custards and cookies or eat them like candy. Consequently Sun- Maid advertising collectibles and information about them have accumulated through the years.

The California Sun-Maid grape growers are famous for two trademarks. They adopted the Sun-Maid trademark in 1915. Sun-Maid and the image of the young girl with the red bonnet and basket of grapes are printed on all the packages of Sun-Maid Raisins. The California Raisins Advisory Board (CALRAB) was organized in 1949.

CALRAB was organized for the purpose of promoting the grape growers products. Their most famous trademark of all time, other than Sun-Maid is the California Raisin anthropomorphic figures with their “viney” arms and legs and wrinkled raisin bodies. The years from 1987 to 1990 are known in the Ad World as the “Raisin Ruckus.” Those were the years that the public was bombarded with “grape facts” such as how old are the California Raisins? Answer: Old enough to have wrinkles, but young enough to rock’n roll.

After the Claymation figures of the California Raisins designed by Will Vinton appeared in animated television commercials. Sun –Maid Raisin collectibles began appearing on the market. One of the favorites is the Sun-Maid California Raisin bank © 1987, retailed in chain stores in America. The bank is 3- inches thick, 6- inches wide and 6.5-inches tall. It is made of molded vinyl. The purple California Raisin man, standing next to the box has sunglasses, orange tennis shoes, black legs, and arms and white gloves. Markings on the bottom of the bank; “The California Raisins TM © CALRAB/

Claymation ® designed by Will Vinton /Licensed by Applause-Licensing / Made in China.”

The largest Sun-Maid Raisin box is recognized in Guinness Book of World Records. It stands near the Sun-Maid corporate office and gift shop in Kingsburg, California. It is 12-foot high, 8-foot wide, and 4-foot deep. It was designed by the marketing block class at California State University and donated to the Sun- Maid plant for Sun-Maids 80th Anniversary.

Rocking chair shopping on the World Wide Web reveal numerous Sun- Maid collectibles on EBAY. Prices vary and change from day to day. Today the Sun-Maid California Raisin bank has prices ranging from $5 to $50. Most have postage and handling charges in addition.

Some of the small items available on the secondary market are the 2.5-inch Claymation figures of the California Raisins given as promotions at Hardee’s., 5-inch plush toys, Sun-Maid Monopoly games, cook books and t-shirts.