In Buttermaid, convenience foods, Dustins Ltd, Frozen Foods, Pastry, Tip-Top, Wattie's on March 4, 2011 at 10.46

I’ve been obsessed with this Buttermaid box for a while, it’s such a neat design with it’s bold, simple graphics. It’s yet another recreation on my list I have been trying to get finished in between working hard on other things.

Buttermaid is featured amongst an array of products on a promotional tray by General Foods Corporation, who have controlled several major brands over the years.  A give-away to clients and vendors I presume, and at this point in time – I’m guessing mid to late 1960s by the look of it – they are producing Tip-Top, Wattie’s, and as far as I recall, Buttermaid was originally an Irvine product (pre-baked pies and pastries). I definitely remember these tubs of fruit salad ice cream – the packaging had not changed into the early 1970s; and the cardboard icecream boxes were pretty similar too,  however what I can recall as a youngster is that Buttermaid packaging was plastic, and had been revised, I think the blue was gone and replaced with a brown  Hessian texture that, coinciding with the era of the Summer of Love – screamed hippie instead of it’s intended barnyard heaven.


I had screen grabs of a few different General Foods promo trays that have come up for sale online over the last couple of years – but none of them have been particularly good to work from so it’s been a lot of squinting and trial to get it right. The photos I have lifted the recreation source material off are very low res, bad quality images – and as yet no-one ever seems to capture a close up of the whole object. So one had most of the top of the box, the other showed the bottom and I’ve had to put them back together to start reconstructing the design.

Not much is to be known of the founding let alone the demise of Miss BM. The original owner of the trademark is not recorded at all. I guess with a lot of intense studying of the NZ Intellectual Property Office’s records I may be able to work more out, but it can get pretty complicated at the rate businesses change hands, merge and morph. Meanwhile it looks like she has inadvertently fallen into the hands of Fonterra as part of their recent aquisition of Tip-Top:

They currently have this version registered (just for the sake of it I would say, because I don’t think she’s been let out of the proverbial farmhouse for a long time now). To me the style of this one looks like an even fussier, older version that has been dragged out of a dusty file so they can slap a claim on it as quickly as possible. Or is it a more 1970s look? Even hard to tell for me. Regardless, it doesn’t look like this unfortunate sleeping beauty shall be arising any time soon. This is about as much of a revival as she’s going to get.

  1. […] brand, the early New Zealand  advertising world, and part two of a story on the Buttermaid brand https://longwhitekid.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/re-maid/  which I have discovered has its foundations  way back to Victorian Times. In lieu of not having […]

  2. Such a shame that the old copperplate cursive handwriting style for the name Tip Top ice cream has been dropped and dummed down for a font with no character.
    Lovely to see the old brands on your website.
    Yes, Buttermaid was an Irvines product:

    Buttermaid pastry, golden and tasty, made by Irvines and frozen too. For perfect baking at each undertaking, Irvines pastry’s made for you. ( piano accordian doo doo doo doo ! )

    I know other jingles if you would like me to write them.

    Many thanks,


  3. Thanks for the comment Cynthia. I just recently spotted this design being used in 1964 in point-of-sale material for Woolworth’s supermarkets.
    Here’s the precursor on where Buttermaid came from:
    I’ll update in part 3 when I find out what happened to the brand between 1930 when it was sold to Whites and later when it was acquired by Irvine’s, probably 1959 as that is the earliest I can find the trademark officially registered. At the moment it’s a complete blank and my best leads usually come from comments on the blog from people who were “in the industry”.
    How do you know the jingles? Just from memory? Or were you involved in the advertising industry somehow? Cheers

  4. Its actually a great and helpful piece of info. I am glad that you shared this helpful info with
    us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  5. This is a wonderful piece of history. Thanks so much for doing it!!

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