longwhitekid

Tasteful Transformation: Tip-Top’s TT2 and Moggy Man

In Dairy, Dairy Products, Desserts, Frozen Foods, General Foods Corporation (NZ) Ltd, Ice Cream, Kiwi Classics, Longwhitekid merchandise, Moggy Man, Moggy Man TT2, Tip-Top, Tip-Top Popsicles, TT2 on April 17, 2012 at 10.46

Here’s a recreation of a tatty Moggy Man sandwich board sign for a dairy business,  below, which came up for sale a couple of weeks ago and sold for over  350 dollars; he was the character representing a long gone Tip-Top brand which was shelved in the early 1970s – now it seems highly desirable to collectors.

I’ve already made my way through half of what will no doubt be a significant article on Tip-Top to be published sometime in the next few weeks, so I’ll just give you the bare bones background here.

TT-2 registered trademark, circa 1957

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Tip-Top was the brainchild of two friends, Albert Hayman and Len Malaghan who decided to open an ice cream parlour. The first one was in Manners Street, Wellington and threw its doors open in 1936. Such a success it was – that within just a couple of years they had a string of them dotted around the lower half of the North Island and the top of the South.

TT-2 Moonraider POS poster for dairies, circa  1967, courtesy of Fonterra’s Tip-Top archives.

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By 1938 they had officially formed a company and were manufacturing their own product. The rest, as they say in the tired old world of cliché, is history – and today it can truly be considered one of few truly iconic brands – in fact they are celebrating their 75th birthday this year.

 TT-2 wrapper, early-mid 1960s, courtesy of Fonterra’s Tip-Top archives.

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With somewhere near fifty million litres of ice cream being churned out annually ( literally as well as figuratively), dozens of products on the market and selling internationally – the business ,now under the jurisdiction of Fonterra Co-operative Group, shows no sign of fading away by any means. Not bad going for a company that started out as one milk bar, with  an ice cream confection named after a cow (the Topsy, which is still on the market today).

 TT-2 wrapper, early-mid 1960s, courtesy of Fonterra’s Tip-Top archives.

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Moggy Man was a Tip-Top brand that began life around the late 1950s as the extremely successful TT-2 ice block – one of the earlier Tip-Top brands that were considered a “novelty” line at the time – that said, anything that wasn’t cone ice cream was considered as such. It was an abbreviation of Tip-Top (TT) with a “2” which indicated it’s relegation to second tier product as it was an ice confection – whereas everything else at the time contained  a degree of dairy; mainly cream.

 TT-2 Moonraider wrapper, early-mid 1960s, courtesy of Fonterra’s Tip-Top archives.

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Many baby boomers recall their childhood and fondly remember the TT-2 range in uncomplicated flavours like orange, pineapple, raspberry, coca cola, lime and lemonade – a reflection of simpler times in sunny summer days. By the early to mid 1960s the more sophisticated themes and flavours of Pineapple Pole, Jaffa Dip, Banana Shake, Raspberry Dazzle, Squidley Twin (an Octopus theme in two flavours), Sweet Orange, Milkshake, Hokey Pokey, White Lemonade, and Moonraider were being tried out on the more adventurous tastebuds of the public.

 TT-2 wrapper, early-mid 1960s, courtesy of Fonterra’s Tip-Top archives.

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Sometime around the end of 1967 or so, the character had been introduced to make a conglomeration “Moggy Man TT2”, a “space-shaped ” ice (not as interesting as it sounds) with milk and extra sugar added – and new varieties to go with this revamped theme of Sunspot, Meteor, Lunar, and with the former Moonraider continued.

Moggy Man TT2 wrapper, circa 1968

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By 1968 the old part of the name had been completely resigned to the scrapheap and the character stood alone as a brand with the space motif continued in varieties like Star Strobe, Red Rocket, Concorde (orange and lemon), Astro Flash, and Zero X .

Moggy Man TT2 wrapper, circa 1968

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However he seemed to be fizzling out and the last ad I’ve seen in the early 1970s shows basic raspberry, chocolate, lime, and orange milk ices in the range. He must have vanished into a black hole soon after – I suspect he was gone by 1974. I  certainly don’t remember Moggy Man being around – and he was eventually replaced a few years later by the Popsicle range – “coolest band in the land”. They weren’t really…the whole “ice lolly as faux rock star” campaign and branding was kind of tacky. Bring back MM, I say – he was much neater!

 I found this document for the Moggy Man character being registered to Peters Ice Cream of NSW, circa 1968. I don’t understand what this is about or why they had posession of the brand at the same time as Tip-Top. I can only imagine it was a licensing deal to launch the brand in Australia, because Peters were  only present in New Zealand in the 1930s and didn’t make a “comeback” until the 1990s.I find no further mention of a presence outside of New Zealand, so one can assume it was not a success. 

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Moggy Man POS poster for dairies, circa 1970, courtesy of Fonterra’s Tip-Top archives.

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I’ve got my high quality recreation of the Moggy Man poster for sale on Redbubble store as posters here;

http://www.redbubble.com/people/darianzam/works/8731662-untitled?p=poster

and cards here.

http://www.redbubble.com/people/darianzam/works/8731662-tip-top-moggy-man?c=130101-kiwiana-cards

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Addendum, mid-October 2012:   I was wondering why I never found this advert until now. This is why – In a very weird coincidence Archives NZ uploaded it the very same day I published my article. Now what are the chances of that? This ad pinpoints the above poster to circa 1970 when Astro Flash and Zero X were probably first released.

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  1. Thanks for the great Moggy Man article. Interesting info as usual. I do remember the Moggy Man. I seem to remember it with a gummy lolly in it -or was this a different iceblock?

  2. I thought you would like it Ann, your comment a few weeks ago got me thinking about the topic. I am pretty sure that you’re probably thinking of Peter Pan’s “Treasure Tip”, which I covered in the previous post – that had a jelly baby in it. But another possibility is Tip-Top’s “Screwball” which had a bubble gum in the bottom of it – that was around from the early1970s.

  3. OMG this is awesome my nickname is moggy or mog for short and Ive had that name since birth. When I asked where the name came from I was told my aunty gave me the name and that I was named after one of the moggy man ice-blocks not sure which one but only now have I actually bothered to do some research into the moggy man, so thank you very much for this it is soooo awesome.

  4. This is fantastic. My nickname within my family is Mog, because I apparently loved Moggy Man Ice-Creams, and would drive everyone mad to buy me one, though I have zero recollection of them until I came upon this site. What a hoot.

  5. Glad you all enjoyed it. Just another instance where something that was once so popular and remembered by so many kids just disappears, and there’s hardly a thing to be found on it on the web.

  6. I really ponder as to why you branded this blog post, “Tasteful
    Transformation: Tip-Tops TT2 and Moggy Man
    longwhitekid”. In any event I really adored the article!
    Many thanks,Ellis

  7. That is really fascinating, You are a very skilled blogger.
    I have joined your rss feed and look ahead to in search of more of your wonderful post.
    Additionally, I’ve shared your web site in my social networks

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