In 1953 the corrugated box manufacturer Hinde & Dauch created a female trade character to represent their boxes. They named her “Cora Gated,” of course, because the name sounded like “corrugated.”
She made an appearance on a corrugated box (for tarred rope) sold last year on eBay for $9.99. As a self-proclaimed “Authority on Packaging” Hinde & Dauch seems to have been ahead of their time. (Now that “authority” is such a big part of the internet arms race.)
In most other respects, however, H & D and “Cora Gated” were merely a product of their times.
Cora Gated & “trade dress”
In an article announcing the new trademark, Charles E. Frohman (Hinde & Dauch’s president at the time) said:
We are confident that Cora will be of great help to us in telling our sales story.
Her name and her costume identify her immediately with our products, and she carries our trade-mark on her dress. We will have no trouble with changing styles, because her ‘clothing’ has a style all its own.
Frohman refers to her “clothing” as if the trade character were simply a human being wearing corrugated boxes instead of clothes. Yet we can also see the character as an anthropomorphic box with arms, legs and head.
This Zippo cigarette lighter with Hinde & Dauch’s “Cora Gated” logo sold on eBay in 2013 (See also: Packaging Zippos)
Frohman’s insight that corrugated box styles would be less volatile than women’s fashions was partly correct.
Anthropomorphic packaging mascots, however, were more of a thing for companies of the past. Nowadays when “anthro-packs” appear, it’s usually a deliberately nostalgic branding move. So even though Cora Gated never conformed to 1950s women’s fashions, today she finds herself outdated, nonetheless.
“Cora Gated” news, advertising and swag follow after the fold.