longwhitekid

More Ice Age Than Frosty

In Dairy Products, Desserts, Frosty Boy, Ice Cream, Tip-Top on July 7, 2011 at 10.46


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.

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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”? 

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  1. Really cool, thanks for posting

  2. Re frosty Boy. Your comments are incorrect. Frosty Boy did not originate in Australia. It came from the Taylor Freezer distributor in the state of Michigan, USA and with his consent was introduced to Australia by Taylor Freezer Australia Pty Ltd my brother being a shareholder. In 1980 i formed Taylor Freezer NZ Ltd and acquired the logo and advertising material from Taylor Freezer Australia. Frosty Boy never ever had any association with Tip Top although they did object to its use and lost the case. I sold Taylor Freezer and Frosty Boy in 1995. Regards

  3. I have a photo of a ‘Barlows’ Ice Cream sign with the slogan underneath it “often licked, never beaten” I obtained it from the museum in TeAro, NZ about 5 yrs ago. I don’t recall the age of the sign/photo, but maybe 1930s/40s?? I was told by a local historian that Barlows owned the Ice Cream business pre WWII and when the American came over, it became really big to the point that Barlows was bought out by TipTop. I am not sure how much truth was in this and have never followed it up.

    • I wonder if it’s the same one I’ve seen with red and black stripes around the edges. I know Barlow’s were around in the 1930s, the business was established by John Lancelot Barlow of Te Aroha. He passed away in 1943 but I think they survived at least into the 1950s as they had a product called “Bar-Lo-Bar” during that time. It’s quite likely they were bought out by Tip-Top in the early 1960s. Barlow’s are known as the earliest use of the slogan “Often Licked, Never Beaten” before it ended up with Tip-Top (which is telling re the purchase theory) who used it for a short time in the 1960s-early 1970s. Then of course it became synonymous with the Frosty Boy brand from 1976 onwards.

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