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NOTEBOOK: AE takes a trip down memory lane with vintage carton designs


Hearing that song that played on the radio while you were riding in the back of your parents’ station wagon. Finding that toy you thought was gone forever, stored in a box in the basement. The sound of children on a school playground on a crisp fall morning. That owl trying to answer the question about how many licks will it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop (yes, that commercial still airs).

Those are just a few images that may evoke memories of your childhood, and Anderson Erickson Dairy is hoping to tap into that nostalgia by bringing back vintage carton designs to mark its 90th anniversary this year. And it all started because someone didn’t throw an old dip carton away.

The throwback designs will first be seen on containers of AE French onion and party dip, which Kim Peter, director of marketing and public relations for the Des Moines-based dairy, said ties in nicely with the college football season and the upcoming holiday festivities, all while harking back to simpler times.

“Longtime fans may remember these carton designs, which are sure to bring back enjoyable memories of the past and life’s simple pleasures,” Peter said.
AE Dairy is a third-generation family-owned dairy, founded by Iver Erickson in 1930, along with his partner, William Anderson. Today, the company employs about 350 people.

The vintage party dip containers feature vibrant orange and blue balloons for each letter in “P-A-R-T-Y.” The vintage French onion dip container will use classic fonts and nostalgic colors like lilac, purple and teal green.

AE Dairy also plans to launch vintage packaging on other products on a limited-time basis this fall, including a vintage egg nog design featuring a “candle motif from the ’40s in honor of our 90th anniversary,” AE Dairy’s Chair and CEO Miriam Erickson Brown said.

Erickson Brown said the company hopes the nostalgic packaging will provide some fun and hope for customers who have struggled through the coronavirus pandemic and economic hardships of 2020.

They’re like a time capsule of the company’s history, she said.
“Bringing families together and being a part of the community is who we are at AE Dairy,” she said. “In light of everything that’s happened in 2020, we thought we should share a bit of nostalgia, excitement and hope the ‘AE way.’ ”

And yes, the idea for the vintage carton campaign was sparked by a customer who brought in an old party dip container they found while cleaning out a porch.

“And we had a good laugh,” Erickson Brown said.


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