Fourgone Confusions

In Four Square Supermarkets on December 1, 2010 at 10.46

Four Square was once a very popular chain of corner stores and mini-markets everywhere in New Zealand, and to a degree also Australia. That is until ursurped by the mass marketing (literally as well as figuratively) of New World, Three Guys and Foodtown and started to dwindle, to what is still a substantial 300 stores today. Throughout New Zealand Mr. 4 as he was known,  would cheerfully beam at you from windows and hoardings, synonymous with the brand. Although I don’t think our Oz cuzzies really took up with the  famous friendly brylcreemed figurehead who was always ready to help you find  anything you need with an unspoken “of COURSE we’ve got it” thumbs up.  Now you may only occasionally find him fading on the long-neglected sides of old buildings.

Immortalized by New Zealand’s most famous pop artist (next to Billy Apple) Dick Frizzell in a series of well-known work, He’s again undergone somewhat of a resurgence in recent years since the subterranean thumbs-up, and ironic merchandise by companies like Mr. Vintage, has elevated him well and truly to one of the great Kiwiana icons. These days when the rare promotional merchandise does come up for auction, like puzzles, blotters and the like; bidding is fierce.

It’s not a Crackberry app. There’s only one kind of Four Square, and he’s got an apron, a smile, and a pencil tucked behind his ear. That is all.

  1. Ol’ Mr 4 isn’t quite so faded out as you may think. Check out Ellerslie town centre — the Four Square there has him in full, reconconstituted colour above the verandah of the store. Since the NZ Historic Places Trust have had the character on some of their souvenir gear, and stores like New World have been selling bags with the logo on them, Mr. 4 has made a comeback.

  2. I guess that I can’t really dispute the fact that they still have 300 store franchises. I have seen a newer version of Mr. 4, he’s not quite the same, I’m a bit or a traditionalist if you hadn’t guessed…cheers

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