If any spouse could spice up a marriage for the long haul, you’d probably expect it to be Mrs. Dash. A popular fixture in the seasoning aisle, Mrs. Dash began adding salt-free flair to meals in the 1980s. As described by Food and Wine contributor Jelisa Castrodale, Mrs. Dash was the brainchild of Alberto-Culver marketing exec Carol Bernick, who was also the mind behind butter substitute Molly McButter.
As the story goes, Bernick birthed the idea while trying to conceive of a way to flavor family meals without using salt. For people worried about consuming too much salt, pairing Mrs. Dash with their meals might have seemed like a match made in heaven despite the fact that she was trying like hell to keep people away from the afterlife by extending their lives.
But Mrs. Dash’s marriage must have felt like an infernal mismatch over time because the seasoning apparently got divorced after 37 years of wedlock. In February 2020, that news broke that Mrs. Dash would not only be salt-free but spouse-free and was being rebranded as just Dash.
Did irreconcilable differences leave Dash feeling salty, raising her blood pressure to unhealthy levels? Did she have a stroke of inspiration that drove her to break free from the ball and chain? Well, not exactly. In a press release published by PR Newswire, Julie Gould, the marketing director of Dash’s parent company, B&G Foods, claimed,
“The updated name captures the salt-free seasoning line’s ability to quickly and easily add salt-free flavor to any dish.”
Is that a diplomatic way of saying that marriage takes the spice of life? Admittedly, that interpretation is probably hard to swallow. But it’s also unclear how divorcing Dash from the first half of her name conveys versatility and quickness any more than the previous incarnation.
But it wouldn’t be the first time a famous brand truncated its moniker for marketing reasons.
In 2018, the company people once knew – and let’s be honest, still know – as Dunkin’ Donuts dropped the Donuts from its name like a hot potato. At the time the company explained,
“By simplifying and modernizing our name, while still paying homage to our heritage, we have an opportunity to create an incredible new energy for Dunkin’.”
That decision was arguably more baffling. Nothing about the name Dunkin’ screams energy. At the very least, the name Dash inherently communicates quickness.
Still, it may seem like the seasoning formerly known as Mrs. Dash lost a part of herself as well as a life partner. But it turns out that in the process, she also found joy – namely health expert Joy Bauer. You may recognize Bauer as the bestselling author of 14 books, as the host of the NBC show Health + Happiness, or her Joy Fit Club segment on the TODAY show. Now she is also slated to lend her expertise to the Dash brand by sharing recipes that incorporate the salt-free seasoning.
And the new name also comes with a new logo and a new flavor: Everything But the Salt. A salt-free take on everything bagels, the new seasoning has a name that echoes the tenor of the Dash rebrand, which will apparently have everything but the Mrs. As B&G Foods wrote in a Twitter post,
“There’s no need to miss the Mrs. You can still create the same delicious meals in a flash with the amazing flavor of salt-free Dash!”
In fact, you almost can’t miss the Mrs. due to its heavy online presence. Dash still goes by Mrs. Dash on Twitter. The website name remains mrsdash.com. The brand’s Facebook page is still called Mrs. Dash as well.
Still, the name change hasn’t entirely been greeted with open arms. While there wasn’t a such huge outpouring of upset on Twitter, there was a trickle of criticism from a handful of detractors. One user urged to, quote, “Stick to Mrs. Dash,” while another somehow blamed millennials for the change. Classic internet. Clearly, they were determined to dash the company’s hopes for enthusiastic reactions.
Of course, depending on whom you ask, this branding bombshell is more of a dud. Denise Lee Yohn, author of What Great Brands Do, told Ad Age,
“I doubt the ‘Mrs.’ part of the name had any impact on the product’s appeal so I doubt dropping it will either. It is more important for the company to raise awareness of the product’s salt-free content, promote its partnership with Joy Bauer, and step up its innovation.”
One thing is for certain, no matter what you call it, Dash continues to be a popular seasoning that’s widely used in kitchens everywhere… even by millennials.
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