Something very interesting came to light a few days ago when fellow collector and Flickr member Steve Williams aka stevepwnz uploaded an ice cream cup from part of his collection, an old Tip-Top container featuring a character that I’ve never seen before, certainly it wasn’t widely used that I am aware of.
I’ve recreated the graphic as best I can from the photos, which he very kindly put up an extra of – after I requested I’d like to see more of it.
It immediately struck me of the similarities with the famous Frosty Boy brand character. We had a brief discussion opining on the resemblance between the two.
Frosty Boy resonates with most New Zealanders of my generation as a brand they remember well from their childhood, but in actual fact Frosty Boy is not really a Kiwi – he was created in Australia in 1976. I mentioned recently that there are quite a few “cross-overs” in the Australasian market. Frosty boy remained as an Antipodean whole until Bonlac purchased the company from Australian Dairies in the 1990s and split it across the two countries.
The logo has changed very little from inception. Here’s a piece of a milkshake cup I cut out and kept from the late 1980s. The brand is still going strong today and the product range has expanded to include a surprisingly large selection: frozen yoghurt, milkshake syrups , toppings, analogue cream (layman: mock) powder, Belgian chocolate powder, Chai Latte, slushies, gelato, gourmet syrups, Frappés, jellies, cones, as well as of course their famous soft serve ice cream.
Given the retro/rocker stylings I always assumed, by the time I was aware of and appreciated such things in my late teens, that Frosty Boy was much older than he actually is -from circa mid 1950s to mid 1960s I imagined. But in fact it would have been inspired, like products such as “Fonzies” (see previous post) to cash in on the mid seventies revival heralded by “Happy Days” and “Laverne & Shirley”.
Let’s compare the two characters side by side shall we? Hmmm. Interesting.
I definitely think that this Tip-Top cup is the real deal from the first half of the 1960s though, so it preceded Frosty Boy by quite a few years at the least.
Do I think that the Frosty Boy character was an entirely original concept after seeing this? No, I don’t. There’s just too many similarities for it to be a coincidence.
Addendum September 2011: Interestingly, it has come to my attention via a museum that a New Zealand ice cream concern named Barlow’s was first using the slogan “Often Licked, Never Beaten” probably in the 1930s. It was then used by the Dunedin-based Royal Ice Cream Co. in the 1950s. It‘s also recalled it was perhaps used by the Snowdrop Ice Cream brand in Dunedin in the 1950s (possible, but doubtful). This was later picked up and used by Tip Top for a time – probably by way of Royal brand which it acquired (along with every other Kiwi ice cream business that didn’t just eventually fold under pressure from them). Now synonymous with the Frosty Boy brand. Yet another “coincidence”?