longwhitekid

Archive for the ‘Biscuits’ Category

Thinking Inside The Box

In Biscuits, Griffin's Snax crackers, Griffin’s, Nabisco, Nabisco Chicken In A Biskit., Nabisco Ritz crackers, Snack Foods on November 20, 2012 at 10.46

A recreation of the Nabisco-inspired version of the packaging.

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This week I had the urge to be creative, instead of putting together a long-winded researchy kind of article because -I seem to have done a stack of them lately. I feel like I am starting to build up a good body of work here for people to flick through so there isn’t such a pressing sense of urgency to pump out a post every week. Plus I need some variety. Oh, and did I mention busy – yeah, busy! Anyway, when I feel like that I get back to my no-brainer list of long-lost packaging pieces I aim to recreate. And yes, “researchy” IS a word – because I say so.

Griffin’s Snax biscuit box. K E Niven and Co: Commercial negatives. Ref: 1/2-209798-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. 

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I’ve been wanting to cobble this Griffin’s Snax box back together for a while but it just sort of “happened” in quite a fortuitous way. First I found a stack of vintage product pictures that somehow in my travels over the last couple of years I’ve missed. There were lots of great things, and a good picture of this box was amongst them, I get the feeling they were done for Woolworth’s advertising, but it’s hard to know. This Snax box is probably a version somewhere between the early to the mid 1960s – more of the former. Unfortunately none of them have any dates.

An advert from NZ Pictorial magazine, Feb 1954 issue.

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Then this week, I missed out on a TradeMe auction of a magazine with a Griffin’s ad in it that I really wanted (weirdly, for such a big, long-running brand it is quite hard to find Griffin’s print stuff, but not as hard as Hudsons and some other unexpected things). I tracked down the seller all frantic and asked if I could possibly get a scan of it. “Guess what?” they said, “you’ll never believe it but we have an extra copy of the exact same issue here.” Sold! It does pay to chase people around persistently, I’ve learned over time.

A 1934 American version of Nabisco’s Ritz crackers box.

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The Snax box is a fairly simple design but quite striking. Also, it’s uncannily similar to Nabisco’s Ritz (I think done by Kraft in Australia, or was). It was definitely “inspired by” Nabisco after they came along. However before Nabisco turned up on the scene – they were in a tin or a bag that was pretty much the same as every other Griffin’s product. Snax have been around since the 1930s, and neither they nor Ritz have changed very much over the decades – same cracker in the same basic red, yellow and blue box.

A Ritz Crackers box, by Nabisco UK, 1960s. Image courtesy Jason Liebig collection.

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Nabisco owned Griifin’s for some time, from 1962- and introduced quite a few American products onto the Kiwi market (or tried) – like Magic Puffs, Giggles, Little Crackers, Little Pizzas, Hostess, and Chicken In A Biskit. I don’t know if they ever introduced Ritz crackers – there was probably no point messing with a good thing, apparently New Zealand’s “best selling cracker”, if you believe the marketing, by foisting a product onto the marketplace that was basically looked and tasted like the same product. This was the best way to impose their pre-existing brand on an established, successful product and simultaneously give it an identity of its own. It’s still around today on supermarket shelves and although the design has been updated, it’s still fairly similar.

A 1950s version of the Snax tin. I remember my grandparents having one of these in the cupboard. The version of the cellophane bag from circa 1959 can be seen in this earlier post here.

https://longwhitekid.wordpress.com/2011/08/10/bite-size-unfinished-project/

All content of Longwhitekid copyright Darian Zam © 2012. All rights reserved.

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Fishy Buzzness

In Biscuits, Cadbury Confectionery Ltd, Cadbury Fry Hudson, Cadbury Schweppes Hudson Ltd, Chocolate, confectionery, Cookie Bear, Griffin’s, Hudson's Chocolate Fish, Hudsons, Hudsons Buzz Bars, Pascall, Schweppes on February 6, 2012 at 10.46

Frozen Buzz Bars poster 400 dpi  colour adjust

Buzz Bars point-of-sale cardboard poster recreation,  probably late 1970s-early 1980s.  

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OK, I’m not sure what else they would be frozen with if not a freezer, but thanks for letting us know. Ah, the joys of vintage advertising. They just kept it simple, even if that meant leaning towards scratchings of complete irrelevance.  None of this baffling us with quasi-organic blatherings.

Anyway, I definitely remember these Hudson’s Buzz Bars from my childhood in the 1970s – they were made of marshmallow dipped in caramel,  then covered in chocolate. They were extremely popular along with the ubiquitous Chocolate Fish (a seafood shaped, milk chocolate covered raspberry or vanilla marshmallow treat that are often whacked in there with all the other popular Kiwiana icons).

Buzz Bars point-of-sale counter box, probably early 1960s.  

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One of my favourite childhood memories is my grandmother’s tenant when I was a toddler; I think her name was Janet or Janice, I can’t quite recall. She just adored me (well, I was very cute) and every once in a while she would leave Chocolate Fish in Nanna’s letterbox for me, sometimes with a Little Golden Book.

Of course to my generation Hudson’s was also the propagator of the famous “Cookie Bear” . Who didn’t get their annual birthday postcard from him? (parents would sign you up and the Hudson’s company would send you a birthday greeting from their mascot every year, replete with paw print. Well, to a small child it seemed like the real deal at the time). Of course later on he suddenly became the Griffin’s mascot, which was a little confusing for those that grew up with him, I touched on it in one of my first few, now seemingly rather amateurish posts, on the blog here. https://longwhitekid.wordpress.com/category/hudsons/

Back of Cookie Bear birthday postcard from Hudson’s, issued 1979 

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I recreated this poster at top, which looks to be a card point-of-sale ad of the type that would be hung up in a dairy (known as a milk bar in Australia, or Drug Store in the U.S. – same thing) from a very low res, shoddy photo that accompanied an on-line auction a few months ago and the design looks to date from the early 1980s.

Chocolate Fish point-of-sale counter box, probably mid 1960s.  

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I wrote out the company history for this post but quite frankly it’s a bit too heavy-going with all the complicated twists and turns, mergers and buy-outs – so I am just going to give you a potted history:
Richard Hudson arrived in Dunedin in 1868 and set up a bakehouse that same year in Dowling Street churning out biscuits and pastries. By 1884 he had established a cocoa processing and chocolate manufacturing plant, thought to be the first in the Southern hemisphere (Kiwis triumphant over the Aussies yet again!), so chocolate and other confections were being produced from then on. In 1930-1931 Hudson’s merged with Cadbury, (or some sources say Cadbury Fry) of Britain and that is how the first Cadbury chocolate bar came to roll off the production line as opposed to being imported. That’s another whole story we won’t get into right now.

Chocolate fish, photo courtesy of  Kim Baillie, Wangi’s Famous Lolly Shop, Lake Macquarie, Australia.a

Things chugged along nicely until around 1969 when Cadbury Fry Hudson conglomerated internationally with Schweppes to become Cadbury Schweppes Hudson Ltd. In the late 1980s onwards things start to get really messy with Griffin’s coming into the picture in some capacity, or maybe entirely – and some brand swapping back and forth as well. And moving some Hudson products under the Pascall brand, just to confuse things. See what I mean? I’m sparing you this time around. Basically what was left continued under Griffin’s from thereon although there have been at least three different corporate owners between that period and now.

Buzz Bars are actually still being made today, at this time under the Cadbury brand. whatever scraps are actually left of the original Hudson’s company confectioneries are now back under the jurisdiction of Cadbury Confectionery Ltd.
I’ll get back to the Hudson’s Cookie Bear, Cadbury and Griffin’s later on in the year, or maybe the following. There’s certainly a lot of ground to cover.


Buzz Bar, photo courtesy of Kim Baillie, Wangi’s Famous Lolly Shop, Lake Macquarie, Australia.

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All content of Longwhitekid copyright Darian Zam © 2014. All rights reserved.

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Edmonds: Taking The Cake

In Acto baking powder, Allen and Sons, Allen's confectionery, Architecture, Baking, Bird's custard, Biscuits, Borwick's baking powder, Cakes, Classics, Custard, Desserts, Edmonds, Fielder's Cornflour, Goodman Fielder, Jellies, Jelly Crystals, John Thomas Edmonds, Moa baking powder, Philanthropy, Sharland and Co, Sure To Rise Cookbook on January 31, 2012 at 10.46

I suppose that eventually I had to get around to doing a post on Edmonds. I mean, it’s so obvious a brand that I almost don’t know where to start -when I look at my collection of images I literally have over 150 advertisements, tins, boxes, and cookbook pages to choose from to illustrate an article. No doubt I’ll do at least another three posts over time on Edmonds in different categories given the volume of material I have.
Even though I’ve always been in love with the Edmond’s baking powder package design (which has changed very little from inception, that’s a big part of its charm) I’ve been putting it off .

A chemist, Ron, who worked at the Edmonds factory remembers these “Slip over” labels being glued on thousands of cans which were left overnight on long tables to dry. He kept one and donated it to Kete Christchurch. Later they were made redundant as the design was printed straight on the metal (previous picture, can probably dates from late 1960s- mid 1970s, and is from my personal collection).

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This is because it  always seems almost pointless given that when people think of Kiwiana -the images that come to mind are the ubiquitous Buzzy Bees, Pavlova, Jandals, Ches and Dale, Kiwifruits, gum boots,  fish and chips,  and more often than not Edmonds baking powder is chucked in –  so well-known is it as one of  New Zealand’s most popular and enduring Brands.  In fact at one time Edmonds were so aware of this that they were even using the slogan “part of New Zealand’s heritage” on the packaging.

“Kiwiana” stamp set issued by New Zealand Post in 2008.

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It’s even been featured as a stamp design more or less intended to be recognised by the font alone – just by the letter E. But I guess my modus operandi has from the outset been to cover the obvious as well as the obscure. So here we go.

Back is inscribed”Thomas Edward Edmonds selling baking powder door to door”. I am assuming this is a simple error with the middle name. Kete Christchurch. Probably the early 1880s.

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Thomas John Edmonds (1858-1932), was born in Poplar, a suburb of London, and had the  previous background of having worked for Allen’s,  the well-known confectionery company which like Edmonds  has stood the test of time and is still going today.
He arrived in Lyttleton, Canterbury on the sailing ship Waitangi as a twenty year old  in 1879 having just married his wife Jane . He didn’t waste any time and immediately  established a grocery business in Woolston, Christchurch  (the site is now the south-west comer of what is now Edmond and Randolph Streets ) where he began by manufacturing sherbet.

Edmonds advertisement, Evening Post  8 March 1937.

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It wasn’t long before he was carefully listening to the complaints about other products on the market such as the unreliability of the available baking powder brands (it was first invented by chemist Alfred Bird of Bird’s Custard fame in 1843 from a mix of sodium bicarbonate, cream of tartar and cornstarch for his yeast-allergic wife).

Edmonds advertisement, Colonist, 9 November 1910.

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Looking around for ideas to boost business, and thinking he could most likely do better, he started experimenting out the back of his shop to create a superior product to others that were on the market – amongst them Borwick’s, Hudson’s , Hudson’s Balloon Brand, as well as Sharland and Co’s Moa and self-named brands ( Surely it couldn’t have been any worse than what was on offer from Sharland here in my favourite story by Lisa Truttman at Timespanner – ” A jam roll death in Freeman’s Bay”  http://tinyurl.com/6pta9xt ).

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A rare bulk Edmonds baking powder tin. I’ve never seen another.

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Edmonds advert circa 1907, Printed Ephemera Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library (Ref: Eph-A-VARIETY-1907-01-centre]

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It wasn’t long before he presented his own product with the first 200 tins going on sale before the year was out. The story goes that upon being questioned whether his powder would be as good for the job he confidently (and probably a little tartly, the way I imagine it) replied “Madam, it is SURE to rise”, and thus gave birth to an instantly recognisable slogan and subsequent “sunray” trademark which has been in use now for more than 130 years.

Tea Ohou Journal, Spring 1953, National Library NZ.

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He was a man of astuteness when it came to marketing techniques; and full of innovative ideas. Initially he tackled the low demand for his product by going door-to-door with sample-size tins to spruik his product and offering to take back any that were not met with satisfaction.
Next he offered a free cookbook to any housewife that wrote in asking for a copy. The famous Edmonds  cookery book was first issued in 1907. It started life as the “Sure To Rise Cookery Book” , with only fifty pages of recipes. Only two known copies of the first edition survive making it a very rare item.

Egg powder made an apparently brief appearance in the scheme of things, in comparison to other Edmonds products – lasting only between the 1880s and 1910s. Courtesy of the NZ Electronic Text Centre.

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As of 2008, with a 60th  edition issued, it has been in print for over 100 years.  At one time it was “sent unsolicited to every newly engaged couple in New Zealand” whose commitment appeared in print. A little presumptuous and risky –  but ultimately good publicity I guess,  as it has now sold well over three million copies and is the country’s bestselling book  of all time. Full of no-fail recipes for everything  from chocolate fudge to bacon and egg pie, It’s now apparently considered a sort of Kiwi rite of passage  to receive a copy from your mother when you first leave home.

The Guthrie-designed building of 1922 which has become an iconic image.

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Small printed metal Acto tin, probably mid 1960s.

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Eventually with his clever strategies to publicise the product, demand grew to the point that by 1912 he was moving one million cans a year, and by 1928 – two and a half million.
During the depression years he was the first to introduce a forty hour,  five day week to his workers, changing the face of employment in New Zealand irrevocably. He even helped his workers with their mortgages.

Tinted powder seems to have been a somewhat superfluous Edmonds product in the late 1940s-early 1950s, hence didn’t have a robust lifespan.

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In the early 1890s he was becoming fairly established and built a large wooden shed for manufacturing in Ferry Road, not that far away from the original grocery shop. In 1922 Edmonds  replaced this building with his landmark Guthrie brothers-designed  “Sure to Rise” factory and expressed his great interest in botany with its elaborate circular gardens; hothouses on the grounds were filled with imported tropical plants were open to the public and employees alike for their enjoyment. Always at the forefront of cutting edge ideas, Edmonds prescribed to the early 20th century European “Garden City Movement” of which the main concept was that “factory owners should provide recreation facilities for their workers, and beautify the surroundings of their factories”

Large printed metal tin which probably dates from the mid-late 1960s, from my personal collection. This design was also on a cardboard box, and was still in use when I was a child in the early 1970s.

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The iconic building is the one that has been featured on the covers of the cookbooks ever since. In what is considered quite a controversial and rather stupid move, it was demolished in 1990 and the gardens destroyed . So much for “part of New Zealand’s heritage”. The land to the west was bought by the Christchurch City Council the following year and Bluebird Foods Ltd donated the money required for a recreation of the gardens in 1992 – again an attraction.

The former 1929 Band Rotunda is now a restaurant honouring Edmonds’ name.

The couple were great philanthropists and the Edmonds family substantially funded or donated many landmarks in Christchurch city including parks, the Theosophical Society building in Cambridge Terrace, the Radiant Hall (now the Repertory Theatre) in Kilmore Street, and for the fifty year anniversary of their arrival they donated the Band Rotunda (now the Thomas Edmonds Restaurant) in Cambridge Terrace, the clock tower and telephone cabinet in Oxford Terrace – amongst others.

A cake baking powder tin that probably dates from the late 1950s-early 1960s. (I’m not sure what differentiates this product from Acto or the regular Edmond’s product).

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Edmonds maize cornflour ad, Tea Ohou Journal, Spring 1954, National Library NZ.

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Fielder’s  cornflour box from my personal collection, late 1980s-early 1990s

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Apart from the perpetual baking powder product range (Edmonds , Sure To Rise, Acto , Cake Baking Powder, and briefly coloured Cake Baking Powder in the late 1940s), Edmonds have also produced custard powder (“Sure To Please”) since at least 1907 in several varieties from raspberry to banana cream, as well as being famous for their jelly in many flavours. Fielder’s Cornflour, Edmonds maize cornflour and wheat cornflour have been a range staple for many decades. The 1960s and 1970s saw instant drinks and desserts like Tang and Jiffy Jel added to the brands’ products, along with the Prima pasta range, Coat’n’Cook for baking and frying, cake and pastry mixes, and instant meals like boxed risotto.

Edmond’s Jelly box, early 1970s.  Photo courtesy of  courtesy of Mike Davidson (Kiwigame on Flickr) . Below baking powder tin dates from the early 1950s, Object number CT78.283, photo from the collection of Owaka Museum Wahi Kahuika The Meeting Place “a rest on your journey”.

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Today the brand is a division of  Goodman Fielder Ltd and the company currently produces nearly 60 products from dressings to bread baking mix.

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Thomas John Edmonds is now considered one of New Zealand’s top 100 most influential people of all time, all because of a couple of dud cakes.

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Addendum early January 2013:

thoms edmonds band rotunda destroyed By shelby-dog flickr EDIT

Unfortunately the Thomas Edmonds Rotunda was badly damaged in the Christchurch quakes and is set to be demolished, if it hasn’t already been done. The ruins are at the least fenced off but it doesn’t look like there is any hope of saving it at all. The above photo shows the wreckage of this lovely example of public architecture – almost  like it has been sheared off with a gigantic knife. Image courtesy of and © all rights reserved by shelby-dog on Flickr.

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Edmonds 1st edition 2nd printing mith & anthony 1909 2 EDIT

A 1st edition, 2nd printing published by Mith & Anthony in 1909 turned up for sale on Trade Me in December. Bidding was extremely fierce for this very rare item and it went for around the $750.00 mark. The following week a 2nd edition, 2nd printing went for around $450.00. In five years these are the only ones I have seen for sale publicly.

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All content of Longwhitekid copyright Darian Zam © 2012. All rights reserved.

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Big Cheese: The Dormer-Beck Agency

In Anacin, Biscuits, Butland Industries, Campaign Advertising, Carlton Carruthers Du Chateau agency, Charles Haines agency, Chesdale Cheese, Clifton Firth, Dick Frizzell, Dormer-Beck, Four Square Supermarkets, Gregg's, Griffin’s, J. Ilott Agency, J. Inglis Wright Agency, John Wyeth NZ Ltd, Kolynos toothpaste, Pam's Products, Reckitt and Colman, Saatchi & Saatchi, Television Advertisement, The Harvey Cameron Agency, Waikato Ales on December 24, 2011 at 10.46

Still from a Chesdale TV advertisement by Dormer-Beck in 1966

It was generally agreed there were three main  firms who ruled NZ advertising in the earlier part of the 20th century ; J. Ilott , Charles Haines, and J. Inglis Wright. (Carlton Carruthers Du Chateau also deserves inclusion in the top agencies, and by the early 1970s CC du C was out and Dobbs-Wiggins-McCann-Erickson was considered one of the “big five”).

However by the late 1950s, Dormer-Beck (who had been around nearly as long, but was perhaps considered the runt of the quintuplets), had become strong enough to be not just a rival – but a real threat to all, eventually with offices in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin. Author Maurice Duggan, who worked as a copywriter at D-B in the early Sixties remembers “The agency had a solid reputation; its presence in the city was considerable”.

Dormer-Beck created some of the most memorable Australasian media campaigns of all time.

courtesy of the Auckland Council heritage images collection  34-D270P-12

I was able to obtain a history of Dormer-Beck from the daughter of a former managing director Alec G. Robson, who started in 1936 as an office junior and by 1964 was chairman and managing director of the company. Jill Rowdon was kind enough to send me a copy of his notes for my research. It is a bio history as opposed to a memoir, and as such is focused on structural and financial business matters rather than the creative grind or the amusing bon mots you would expect of those crazy ad types; and unfortunately barely skips over important accounts and iconic brands with no more than a passing mention.

The New Zealand operations of International John Wyeth NZ Ltd, that produced health and cosmetic products like Anacin, were a client in the 1940s.

Dormer-Beck was borne of T. L. Hathaway Ltd., An Auckland agency with a number of retail advert writing contracts. L. M. (Case) Beck had worked as a “writer-visualiser” there for two years. An account they held with the Auckland Star newspaper, where R.C. Dormer was building a reputation as a sales representative, is how the two met. Hathaway commenced operations for a new business venture in Australia, after a radical product/coupon scheme was scuttled by introduced government laws, (The Coupon Trading Act took effect in 1932, making it illegal to redeem coupons for anything but cash or discount), leaving a bankrupt company in the charge of Beck – because he was the largest preferential creditor in terms of owed wages. The two scraped up sum capital of £50.00 each, and well into The Depression, the business had literally nowhere to go but up. Ray Trenchard Smith, who had both newspaper and advertising agency experience, became the third shareholder, and Dormer- Beck Advertising Ltd., was “officially” formed in May 1932.
I stumbled upon the Dormer-Beck story whilst researching “Pam’s” which was launched by Four Square Stores in 1937 to offer lower price, quality goods to the New Zealand public under a strong brand image. Yes – it really does go back that far. Although there were several “self” brands from chain stores at the time, “Pam’s” has lasted into the present day as a stand-alone brand, probably the only surviving one – and has a pretty nifty website to boot.

http://www.pams.co.nz/#/home

courtesy of the Auckland Council heritage images collection A2338

Four Square was an early client of Dormer-Beck’s along with Aircell (baby blankets) ,  Milne & Choyce (clothing and milinery), Silknit/Slimtex and Iris (lingerie), Berger’s (paint), Dresswell (clothing), Pyradent (toothpaste, mouthwash), Du Maurier (cigarettes), Defiance (men’s clothing and shoes), May and Belle/Slicks (underwear), and N.Z. Wallboards Ltd (Gibraltar Board).

courtesy of the Auckland Libraries Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 34-D270L

In the 1940s there was Kolynos (toothpaste),Neopol (polish), and John Wyeth NZ Ltd, that marketed products like the pain medication Anacin; and in the 1950s Chelsea Sugar (CSR) were an important account. There were of course legions more.
Many of these products are recorded in digital archives as photographed by Clifton Firth, who had a longstanding contract with Dormer-Beck from the early 1930s into the early 1960s. As such he subsequently made an inadvertent record of accounts and the accompanying products they were dealing with on a bread-and-butter basis. The sheer volume of images that survive really denotes that Firth deserves his own stand-alone post covering his career and work.

Dormer-Beck advertising including Pam’s and Pyradent , photographed by Clifton Firth between 1930-1939, courtesy of the Auckland Council heritage images collection 34-D270S

From a photograph of products that Dormer-Beck were handling in the late 1930s I was able to find an early Pam’s baking powder poster (this product launched the brand) and along with a rough newspaper advertisement,

as well as a piece from a A4 square promotional jigsaw puzzle showing packaging and accompanying point-of-sale material,

             A clipping from Four Square Stores promotional jigsaw puzzle cover showing Pam’s baking powder and point-of-sale display material – Likely designed by Dormer-Beck. Dated as 1950s, but I believe it is from a little earlier; the late 1940s. Courtesy of the Alexander Turnbull Library collection.


I now had all the pieces in place which enabled me to finally reconstruct the paper label for the product – something I’ve been wanting to do for ages.

Recreation of a poster (also used for the can label for many years) for Four Square’s “Pam’s” baking powder, designed by Dormer-Beck in 1937 as a campaign to launch the brand’s first product.

After the labour government came to power in 1935 it immediately introduced commercial radio to New Zealand, and as in later years with the advent of television, Dormer-Beck was amongst the first agencies to develop this new medium. Amongst the earliest TV ads they created were for a major client – Griffin’s biscuits and confectionery- Mallowpuffs, Krispies, and Snax amongst other classic and fondly remembered treats.

http://www.filmarchive.org.nz/sellebration/view.php?id=228

According to a company report of the time, 12 months before Channel 2 was due to begin transmission in 1960 – “Dormer-Beck was engaged on the production of the first television commercial to be made in New Zealand”. Further to that, Robson recalled in 1970 “there were in fact quite a number “in the can” and ready for scheduling when Channel 2 opened in June 1960″, but it’s not clearly conveyed whether they were all D-B productions or there were other companies making ads too, which he was referring to in general. Certainly in the first decade, D-B produced more television commercials than any other agency in the country. Apart from legions of ads for Griffin’s – Reckitt and Colman was another major client and Dormer-Beck created ads for everything from hamburger seasoning (French’s), to perfume (Goya, Cedarwood), and Cleaning products (Janola).

Dormer-Beck’s Mini-Magic Hosiery Campaign, 1970

By 1936 D-B were already successful enough to move from Horne’s buildings in Vulcan Lane, Auckland to bigger digs in the National Insurance building in O’Connell street. One contributor to success was a long-term business relationship with the J. Walter Thompson Agency of which Graeme Martin, who worked in the art department in the late 1960s recalls “…the highlight for me was the Creative Director from J. W T, Sydney, a man called Bryce Courtenay (yes the famous author!) came to give us a talk and general jolly up. He praised a little advert that I designed which I thought at the time was awful. Little did I know in those days!”.

It’s highly likely that this 1963 packaging was redesigned for Griffin’s in the Wellington art department several times over the years.

Strong direction and forward planning meant that by the early 1960s Dormer-Beck was a serious force to be reckoned with in the country, and by 1970 owned all the properties and buildings between 52 and 60 Ponsonby Road, however although D-B did construct new offices (as well as requisitioning older buildings on site), it wasn’t all glamorous “cringing under the smell of vinegar from the factory behind, and Creamota from the undertaker next door “ as David Burke-Kennedy, of Communique Publicity, who worked on the creative side at D-B as a teenager around 1964, remembers. Far from bustling with uber-cool hipsters in that time,  Graeme Martin says “I actually found working in Ponsonby Road a little too far from the hub of Auckland in those days. It was a short time for me, and I didn’t really enjoy it”.

Possibly the most famous campaign that Dormer-Beck was responsible for, was the Chesdale Cheese clips of the mid-late 1960s, the ” boys down on the farm ” advertisements featuring “Ches” and “Dale”.

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One famous name that was involved in the design and illustration of the two characters for the campaign was of course now famous pop artist Dick Frizzell who was working off site at the time for Sam Harvey Animations, but later did work for Dormer-Beck in their art department. Wayne Senior, one of New Zealand’s top jingle writers- producers throughout the late 60s through to the early eighties (he wrote the “Hip H Panty Hose” introductory jingle that was a big hit) remembers he was “… included in the Art studio staff. I still have the going away card he designed – my personal Dick Frizzell. It must be worth quite a lot now, hailing from Dick’s early period.”

Wayne Senior’s farewell card from Dick Frizzell, late 1960s , photo courtesy W. Senior

Other clients of the 1960s besides Chesdale and Griffin’s and also names well known to Kiwis were Gregg’s, Coca-Cola, Fisher & Paykel, Reidrubber, Kelloggs, Fibremakers, Wrigleys, Hanimex, and IGA Supermarkets.

Dormer-Beck Company Newsletter ON THE CLIPBOARD, 1968, showing recent campaigns.

Dormer-Beck campaign for the Waikato Ales account, 1964

In the 1970s, the account roster included behemoths Choysa Tea, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and Pan American airlines.

The Harvey Cameron Agency merged with D-B in 1972, not very long after the last original founding member of the trio had retired for good. In 1980 it merged again, and both the “Dormer” and “Beck” bits were dropped into the propwash of history to become simply “Campaign Advertising”.  Saatchi and Saatchi bought the agency in 1985 and so on, in a series of complicated mergers and buy-outs which I always find fascinating – when nobody else does. Something quite unrecognisable today from the pioneering Antipodean agency of media with many iconic, well-remembered campaigns that won’t be forgotten too quickly – even if people don’t know where they came from.

This was the most complex story research-wise I have worked on to date – yet just about everyone I contacted returned my messages and was willing to talk to me. I have to thank Wayne Kitching, David Burke-Kennedy and Graeme Martin for being patient whilst bombarded with questions, Jill Rowdon from The Nielsen Company for documents and images, Wayne Senior for being interviewed and lending his image of the Dick Frizell artwork. Keith Giles, Photograph Librarian, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Central City Library, Auckland, and Sue de Lange at The Royal Philatelic Society of New Zealand Inc. Without everyone’s participation and contribution I wouldn’t be able to dredge these stories back up. 

Maid Me Look

In Biscuits, Buttermaid, Cakes, confectionery, Dustins Ltd, Frozen Foods, Ice Cream, Pastry, Southern Cross Biscuits on October 9, 2011 at 10.46

I have to admit that I at first dismissed the Buttermaid Cake ads I found as likely being irrelevant to the story I posted on previously in March 2011:

https://longwhitekid.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/re-maid/

I immediately decided that it was unlikely a bakery from the 1920s had any relation. It wasn’t until I really examined all of them I found that the company, Dustins Ltd., was also manufacturing “Famos Pies”, almond icing, and puff pastry, ready to bake – surely what must be one of the earlier non-canned New Zealand convenience products (although since writing this weeks ago, I have found an advertisement for chilled readymade pastry for sale in the 1890s).

Buttermaid Cakes, Evening Post , November 1928 

So this is effectively part two of the Buttermaid pastry story.

Paraphrasing the Wanganui Herald’s article “Banquet in New Rooms” of 13 May 1909 : “In 1896 Mr Dustin started biscuit baking, and that business grew so much that he had to turn it into a company. Then Mr Dustin entered the catering business, and progressed so rapidly that he had to extend his buildings”.

Buttermaid Cake coupon, Evening Post, October 1927 

Indeed he did – opening quite glamorous tearooms painted with murals selling their cakes, pies and confections in 1909 (a newspaper feature goes into great detail about the stencilling and harmonic shades of sage, salmon and de nil). Two large floors offered  morning and afternoon teas, and dinners –  four courses for a shilling.

Advertisement for the newly opened restaurant and tearooms, demonstrating the fare on offer, Wanganui Herald, July 1909

Interior of  William S Dustins tearooms, Wanganui, 1909. Photograph taken by Frank J Denton, National Library of NZ Collection 

As well as a second bakery he owned named “Devon” at the same time, from 1903 Dustins American Saloon in Victoria Street offered milkshakes, ices, cream drinks and sodas. By 1914 their mini-empire also included “their Regent Rooms higher up The Avenue, where wines may be purchased in draught, in single bottles, or in case lots”.

“Employees outside the confectionery shop of W. S. Dustin Wanganui 1909”.  F. J. Denton Collection , Alexander Turnbull Library Manuscripts and pictorial.


“Interior of the confectionery shop of W. S. Dustin Wanganui 1909”I got out my magnifying glass and was able to spot the following products for sale: Cadbury Chocolate, Kirkpatrick’s “K ” canned plum pudding, Aulsebrook’s chocolates, Huntley & Palmer biscuits, KOPS ale & stout, Tucker’s chocolate and toffee, Fry’s Chocolate,  American Baloon (sic) soda drinks. Alexander Turnbull Library Manuscripts and pictorial collection.

As well as a confectioner, bread maker , biscuit baker and agent for various products from malt to honey, W.S. Dustin also catered for races,  A&P shows, as well as hosting concerts, wedding parties and balls in the tearooms. In 1899 he was referring to himself as “premier caterer” (eventually he catered for the visit of the Duke and Duchess of York in 1927, who were later to become King George VI and Queen Elizabeth  but by 1909, the year his restaurant and tearooms enterprise opened, Dustin’s Ltd were already appointed as bakers to His Excellency the Governor).

Dustins“American Saloon” ,Wanganui Herald,November 1903


He may have started baking biscuits per se in 1896, but when he arrived in Wanganui in 1879, straight off the “Geraldine Paget” -on which the skills he learned in Plymouth and Devon were put to use as ship pastry cook – he first opened business in Guyton street with an output of just 25 loaves of bread a day, distributing by hand basket delivery. From there he gradually developed his trade until  he removed to Wicksteed Street, and his tally recorded a daily delivery of 1500 loaves In 1896. By the late 1890s he was the largest bread and confectionery business for many miles around.

Southern Cross Biscuit Company sack – besides biscuits, confectionery, pastry, pies and breads the factory also produced flour.

The biscuit baking branch launched with immediate success and resulted in the formation of the Southern Cross Biscuit Factory in 1902. It went from strength to strength and within two years was baking ten types of bread, 3500 plus units a day, as well as sweets, and of course cookies. By 1907 they had purchased machinery and had branched out into manufacturing their own iced confections for sale – however I found reference to W.S. Dustin in Wanganui offering ice cream in an ad as early as 1891.

Chocolates and Petit Fours at Dustins, by Berry and Co, circa 1920. Glass plate negative, courtesy of Te Papa Collection.

Another factor in the strategic expansion of the firm was the increase of Dustin’s family – eventually to number eight children – which had compelled him to plan for the future and “give them an interest in the business, and the result was Dustins, Ltd., of Wanganui and Palmerston North.” (apart from his eldest, it seems most of them turned out to be far more interested in playing sports, as numerous photos in archives attest).

WWI  soldiers  outside Dustin’s home cookery shop, Main Street West. Courtesy of Manuwatu Memory online, Palmerston North City Library.

Such was the popularity of their product that by the 1920s Buttermaid products had spread from Wanganui throughout the lower half of the North Island under expansion of eldest son David Ernest Dustin, with many agent stores carrying their line – and several stand-alone stores (I can count at least ten) including two in Cuba Street and another in Lambton Quay. Throughout the late 1920s Dustins advertised Buttermaid stores heavily as well as seeking agents to spread their goods far and wide.

Another branch of the Dustin Bakery: Mrs Claude Dustin and Betty Fryer in doorway, 1930s. Claude must have been a grandson of W.S., since Claude his son was killed in action in 1915. Courtesy of the Foxton Historical Society Collection.

By the time he died in 1927, “W.S.”, as he was affectionately known, had become a prominent and respected member of the community associated with bringing progress and prosperity to the general area. As such he had clout in several organisations; he sat on public boards, judged competitions, and became renowned -not only as a keen and talented sportsman himself -for his philanthropic endeavours in that area.  He sponsored the Dustin Shield (rugby), Dustin Fours (rowing) and the Dustin Cup (softball, shooting). He also  accompanied the All Blacks on their first tour – as well as one in 1924 not long before his demise.


Part of a  panorama showing the corner where Broadway meets The Square in central Palmerston North, 1923. Dustins can be see to the right of the chemist store. Courtesy of Manuwatu Memory Online, Palmerston North City Library.

One of the two Cuba Street, Wellington Dustins stores can be seen with the sign showing above the group of people in the centre of the road. Courtesy of  Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 35-R2267.

In July 1930 Dustins Ltd. publicly announced that one of the Cuba Street shops (it denotes singular in the article, mentioning 181 on that street in particular) and the Buttermaid brand had been sold and was henceforth to be known as White’s. What happened between the early 1930s and the early 1950s, by which time General Foods had acquired and trademarked the brand and made Buttermaid frozen pastry one of the more popular purchases in frozen foods for some time- I don’t yet know. Although there’s an absolute wealth of information on Dustins over time (which is rare for the type of subjects I cover), White’s seems to disappear from the records as soon as they took over.

Hopefully that piece of the Buttermaid story will be uncovered in due course. As for the Southern Cross Biscuit Company, which is a saga worthy of its own post – it lived on until the Dustin Family offloaded it to Griffin’s in 1959 where it was “disappeared” by effective corporate osmosis. After all as one of the eight largest New Zealand concerns of the time, it was not viewed as a brand, so much as just a share of the market.

Band of Old

In Biscottes, Biscuits, Four Square Supermarkets, Red Band Biscottes, Snack Foods on September 1, 2011 at 10.46

Red Band Biscottes seemed to have been a very popular product for Four Square stores; otherwise I imagine they would not have advertised it along with their best-selling mainstream products like Crest, Nugget, Weetbix and Marmite. It is my conjecture that they were a NZ brand created in the 1950s to cater to immigrants, rather than importing product – which means there must have been a demand.

A variety of searches in Papers Past show no references for biscotte products at all (although I am sure I have seen them advertised at least once as for sale at Fuller-Fulton’s, MacDuffs, or a similar store in the 1930s). This shows with a fair degree of certainty that although rusks were a common snack, biscottes weren’t really a pre-WWII thing and probably arrived and grew in popularity with the great influx of European post-war arrivals – in particular the Dutch who came to NZ in droves looking for a new life, just like my mother and her family did after years in the Japanese POW camps in Jakarta.

The biscotte were in a special tall tin like these, which I am guessing may be an earlier version of the Red Band product (the seller said there were no markings as to brand or manufacturer), noting several similarities which tip me off including the shape of the container.
There’s nothing much else to tell since I haven’t been able to find anything about the brand at all. I do remember the biscottes we had being in a crackly clear cellophane wrapper and probably a red and white print on the package. They may have been Red Rose, Red Tulip, or perhaps Red Band – it’s a long time ago now and I am not sure.

We always had biscottes in the house, up until the early 1980s. Especially with Dutch heritage we always had foreign treats like speculaas, caraway infused cheese, appelstroop and of course biscotte slathered with butter and sugar hail – tiny yellow, orange and pink fruit flavour sprinkles; or aniseed coated in pink and white sugar . This is a traditional breakfast topping in Holland known as “Muisjes” (translates to “little mice”). This was a sentimental childhood favourite of my mother’s. Interestingly I ran across a snippet that the orange, lemon and raspberry Muisjes were the first bread topping that the De Ruijter company exported to the Dutch soldiers stationed in Indonesia, in 1946. So it was probably my mother’s first taste of luxury and the “outside world” after years of starvation, and likely holds very fond memories.

I took the image at the top of the post and reconstructed it from a Four Square snap set that appears to date from the late 1950s, and was one of a myriad of promotional products the company issued over the years. Apart from this reference I cannot find any other mention of it although I am sure there will be more to the story to come.

Addendum: Some new information has surfaced today. The image and slogan for Red Band was registered by Henry Hughes in February 1961, had lapsed by July 1968, and was never renewed. A legal representative of the trademark owner, Henry Hughes of Wellington, are attorneys specialising in patents and trademarks – and still going today. This  places the snap cards into a specific time frame of 1961-1967 that will only be further narrowed down the more I find out about other products in the set (which is, so far, zilch so not proving very easy). I hope these dates are accurate, and I think they are, but I know from IPONZ that their database is not always complete for products. 

photo of Muisjes courtesy of http://ethnicidaho.blogspot.com and copyright © Nicole Holten

Bite Size: Unfinished Project

In Biscuits, Chocolate, confectionery, Griffin’s on August 10, 2011 at 10.46


These glass slides were for sale on Trademe a few months ago, and I loved them – but firstly I couldn’t afford them. And even if I could the chances that the brittle, old glass would arrive to me in one piece was slim – given that just about everything sent trans-Tasman somehow gets wrecked, even if it’s something that is  seemingly impossible to break. Yes, New Zealand Post really are that bad.
I had a plan to try to get better resolution shots and offered to pay but first the seller ignored me, played dumb and then finally said it was too late – well of course it was by then.


I’ll skip briefly around the history of the brand here, because it’s another classic Kiwi brand with a story too big for this little post. Griffin’s started in Nelson in 1864 as a flour and cocoa mill. Business boomed; and the company expanded into biscuits and sweets  by the 1880s, made out of the raw ingredients they were producing themselves.

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By 1895 success was such that the company went public, and with a couple of bumps along the way, they are still going strong today.
Griffin’s stuck mainly to what they knew best – biscuits. Although they had a serious foray into confectionery that lasted many decades, it seems seem to have been markedly reduced by the 1950s in comparison to their cookie business.

I have seen these slides before and they are advertising printed on glass plates, often hand tinted – that were used in the movie theatres of yore to advertise businesses and products – before moving ads were common place.
I apologise the images are not good quality however if I recreated these properly I would be sitting here all week, and I won’t do that. I want to at least re-do the Milko candy bar one at some point in the future as it’s an appealing graphic and would look good as a poster.

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Nevertheless the images are quaint and good enough examples of how product looked and also that plastic packaging was being generously used a little earlier than you may imagine (I have images of cellophane packets and surprisingly, bacon rashers in what appears to be plastic vacuum sealed bags being marketed in NZ from the mid 1930s).


Griffin’s Round Wine, Malt Thins, Krispies and Gingernuts stocked on shelves at Woolworths, Panmure, Auckland, late 1963.

I have seen a similar style of packaging on their biscuits from 1963 in the photo above, but I reckon these slides are a little earlier. If I had to get it down to a five year time frame I would guess 1958 to 1963. Given that I’ve found a reference to a commercial in the New Zealand Film Archives for Milko Bars selling for 6D as in the slide, dated 1961, I’m going for 1959-1960… because if they had a commercial, logic deduces that they would have been using that instead of these, would they not?

Photo of Woolworths courtesy of and  © Degilbo (Lance Bates)  http://www.flickr.com/photos/degilbo_on_flickr/sets/72157622925317144/with/4154579333/

In My Cups

In baking nostalgia, Biscuits, Cakes, Desserts, Jaytee Patty Pans, McMeeking Ltd, vintage kitchen on March 12, 2011 at 10.46

I bought a Jaytee Patty Pans box a while ago and it just arrived yesterday. So many great kitchen memories. I think kids obsess on baking cups because it means one of several things; and they’re all good (debatable), sugary things! well that is just an assumption to explain my fixation, anyway.

My latest purchase is pre-decimal (designed with a to-retail pice of 10 pence printed on the box). Produced before 1967, I estimate late 1950s to early 1960s.



I dug through my archives and to my surprise, and maybe horror, I actually have three other slightly different versions of the box. Yes, I’ll be appearing soon on that TV show “Hoarders”. In twenty years you will remember this post when a news report comes on about an ironically malnourished body being found under tons of antique (well, they will be by then) ice cream tins, candy boxes and snack wrappers. “VICTIM SPENT FOOD ALLOWANCE ON EBAY AND STARVED UNDER COLLECTION”
I can date this one between 1964- 1967 because it came from the family kitchen and it’s pre-decimal (marked with a price of 13 pence). Mum wouldn’t have any reason to  buy baking cups before she moved into the matrimonial home.



I thought the box was empty when I bought it, especially as I had asked for it to be flattened for postage… but it actually had the red wax paper and all the patty pans still inside, unused. The fact is that smell is the strongest sense linked to memory, and every time I open it and take a sniff, whoa! – it smells EXACTLY like Mum in the kitchen making Chocolate Crackles. It transports me right back there like I am standing in the kitchen of the family home. That’s the power of nostalgia, folks!

But it does make one wonder. How much of the smell that I remember was actual Chocolate Crackles? And how much was the actual patty pans? Seems like it was the latter in all honesty. It’s sort of like finding out late in life you were adopted. It’s a unique combo scent of paper, wax and vanilla that does not smell like anything else, I wonder if they scented them specifically?

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On the left post 1979, as McMeeking have taken ownership. I estimate early 1980s. On the right, I estimate early-mid 1970s as the founder is still specified. Both boxes nicked from the family kitchen in the late eighties.

Jaytee Baking Cups have been a household name since the 1930’s, when the company was founded by a printing engineer, James Thomas Williamson. Hence the name Jaytee. Since acquiring the company in 1979 McMeeking Manufacturing has been the largest supplier of Baking Cups in New Zealand with exports to Australia and the Pacific Islands. McMeeking still own it today, running the operation from Dunedin, Otago.

Because I have this information it’s easy for me to get a ballpark date on these boxes combined with the probability of purchases influenced by my parents setting up house and us children being born (the likelihood of  making cupcakes before you have squalling toddlers is pretty unlikely, after all – bake sales aside, who does stuff they don’t have to when they know they have twenty non-stop years of it in the near future?). The last image above are some modern designs from the company, produced within the last few years. You can still see remnants of the original box design as it’s morphed over the years.

OK, now let loose run to the nearest bakery and consume something in a patty pan. You know you can’t stop thinking about it now…

Addendum  mid Jan 2014: A Dunedin collector and reader of this blog kindly sent these images to me as a contribution the article. These arrived some months ago and I haven’t had time for quite a while to do all the updates I need to get around to. I’d say these two boxes date from the 2000s, and are still made by McMeeking in Dunedin. There can’t be too many things that are still made domestically these days. It just occurred to me that I’ve never seen any advertising at all for Jaytee. That’s quite unusual for a steadfast kitchen product that has been around for some decades. Both following images are courtesy of Owain Morris collection.

Jay-Tee Muffin baking cups A - Owain Morris Collection  (1)

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Jay-Tee Muffin baking cups B - Owain Morris Collection (2)

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All content of Longwhitekid copyright Darian Zam © 2013. All rights reserved.

Dum-De-Don’t

In Biscuits, confectionery, Cookie Bear, Griffin’s, Hudsons on January 2, 2011 at 10.46

John Griffin and his family arrived in New Zealand in the mid 1850’s and started Griffin’s in Nelson in 1864 as a flour and cocoa mill.


Business boomed and he was soon able to expand into making biscuits and sweets out of the raw ingredients he was producing.By 1895 success was such that the company went public.


Now a ubiquitous part of New Zealand culture, and much loved – except for the part where they hijacked our childhood icon, Cookie Bear, from rival company Hudson’s in the 1990’s – utterly confusing Generation X.