Aeroplane Jelly

Aeroplane Jelly

Aeroplane Jelly is a jelly brand in Australia created by Adolphus Herbert Frederick Norman Appleroth. Appleroth's backyard business, Traders Pty Ltd, become one of Australia's largest family-operated food manufacturers and was sold to McCormick Foods Australia, a subsidiary of United States corporation McCormick & Company, in 1995.

Aeroplane Jelly ran a successful advertising campaign featuring a jingle that has become part of Australian culture. It is one of Australia's longest running jingles, and was played on radio over 100 times per day in the 1940s. Aeroplane Jelly is the market leader in Australia's jelly market, with over 10 million packets sold annually.


Adolphus Herbert Frederick Norman Appleroth, known as Bert Appleroth, was a tram conductor who created jelly crystals using gelatine and sugar in his bathtub. He sold these jelly crystals door-to-door, using his tram route to transport him around Sydney. In 1917, Appleroth rented premises to manufacture his jelly, then formed a company with Albert Francis Lenertz named Traders Ltd in 1926. Planes were considered new and exciting at the time, so aviation fan Appleroth named the brand Aeroplane Jelly.cite web |url= |title= Appleroth, Adolphus Herbert Frederick Norman (1886 - 1952) Biographical Entry |first=Paul |last=Brunton |accessdate=2008-06-06 |date= |publisher=Australian Dictionary of Biography Online ] Appleroth used a Tiger Moth plane to make deliveries to rural areas in 1934, and his publicity stunts and Aeroplane Jelly's advertising campaigns made the jelly a national icon, like Holden and Vegemite.

Appleroth's company, Traders Pty Ltd, was run by his son, Bert II, then grandson, Bert III, and ownership passed to Bert III's wife Val when he died in 1985. According to Traders' managing director, Hugh Knox, the Appleroth family were friends with a former managing director of McCormick & Company, which started negotiations between the parties. [cite news |first=Rochelle |last=Burbury |title= US gets the taste for an Australian icon |work=News |publisher="The Age" |date=1994-09-02 |page=1] Aeroplane Jelly was sold to McCormick Foods Australia in 1995, the Australian subsidiary of the United States-based McCormick & Company.

The first Aeroplane Jelly factory was located in Paddington, New South Wales, a suburb of Sydney, then manufactured in West Ryde for 33 years. In 2006, McCormick Foods Australia moved production of Aeroplane Jelly to Clayton, Victoria to centralise its manufacturing operations in Victoria. [cite news |title=NSW: Aeroplane Jelly makers relocate to Vic, lose 34 NSW jobs |publisher=Australian Associated Press General News |date=2006-02-01]

The Australian jelly industry is worth approximately $24 million per annum, and Aeroplane Jelly is the market leader with a 20% share. [cite news |first=Lyn |last=White |title=Music quest mark's icons 75th |publisher="Foodweek" |date=2002-09-02] Over 10 million packets of Aeroplane Jelly are sold each year. Strawberry has been the best selling flavour throughout Aeroplane Jelly's history.


The Aeroplane Jelly jingle was composed by Albert Francis Lenertz (1891-1943), Appleroth's business partner. The jingle was a re-working of Lenertz's earlier political jingle in tribute to Australian Prime Minister William Morris Hughes. [cite web |url= |title=Lenertz |date=2002-01-29 |publisher=Music Australia |accessdate=2008-06-06] A minor controversy occurred in the "Sydney Morning Herald" in 1988 over authorship of the song, with claims made on behalf of vaudeville actress Peggy Thorne, pianist of the Musician's Lodge, Les Woods, and New Zealander Bill White.cite news |title=Aeroplane Jelly girl never set to become a child star |work=News and Features |publisher="Sydney Morning Herald" |date=1988-11-14 |page=2] [cite news |first=Paola |last=Totaro |title=We can all sing it – but who really wrote it? |work=News and Features |publisher="Sydney Morning Herald" |date=1988-10-31 |page=2]

The jingle was first sung in the early 1930s on the Goodie Reeve radio show by three-year-old Jennifer Paykel. As the commercials were broadcast live, Paykel was taken to the studio two or three times per week to sing the jingle. Paykel's mother did not sign a new contract when it was due to be renewed because according to Paykel, later known as Jennifer Simons, "Shirley Temple was all the rage and my mother was terrified I might become a public figure like her". Aeroplane Jelly held a Sydney talent quest to find a new singer, and the competition was won by five-year-old Joy King, who recorded the jingle in 1937, with the lyrics below: [cite news |title=Aeroplane Jelly singer dies |publisher="Daily Telegraph" |date=1996-08-09 |page=15]

I like Aeroplane Jelly, Aeroplane Jelly for me. I like it for dinner, I like it for tea, A little each day is a good recipe! The quality's high, as the name will imply, It's made from pure fruit - one more good reason why I like Aeroplane Jelly, Aeroplane Jelly for me!

A finalist in the same talent quest was seven-year-old Tommy Dawes, who Appleroth chose to appear as the "whistling boy" on the front of the jelly packets and advertising. According to Dawes, as a finalist he received 10 guineas and an onyx inkstand, but has received no other compensation for the use of his image or his recorded version of the jingle. Dawes said, "It was absolutely fantastic; I loved seeing my picture and singing the song and all my friends were very impressed... I have never wanted any money from it... I just like telling everyone that I'm the Aeroplane Jelly boy."cite news |first=Maxine |last=Frith |title= Whistling boy who took flight |work=News |publisher="Sun Herald" |date=2007-10-14 |page=41 |url= |accessdate=2008-06-06] In 1942, Bertie the Aeroplane was introduced as Aeroplane Jelly's mascot.cite news |title=Icon's change of tune |publisher=Fairfield Advance |date=2003-01-29 |page=15] Named after Appleroth, Bertie sung the jingle in cinema and television advertisements. [cite news |title=Gazing into a jelly crystal's past |work= |publisher="Herald and Weekly Times" |date=2000-07-19 |page=76]

In 1966, the jingle was recorded in Greek, Italian, Russian and Yugoslav, and became one of Australia's first advertising campaigns to target ethnic groups.cite news |title=Lite launch |publisher="Foodweek" |date=2002-10-14] Versions of the jingle have been recorded by The Andrews Sisters and Victor Borge. At its peak in the 1940s, the jingle was played over 100 times per day on radio stations, and it is one of the longest-running jingles in Australia. In 2003, Aeroplane Jelly marked its 75th anniversary with a national competition to record a new version of the jingle and raise money for the Starlight Children's Foundation. [cite news |title=You'll like this contest |publisher="Mt Druitt Standard" |date=2002-09-04 |page=24] A McCormick spokesperson described the number of submissions as "overwhelming". The competition was won by Queensland's Palm Beach State School, who rerecorded the jingle with runners-up Park Ridge Primary School from Victoria.

Brisbane advertising agencies named the Aeroplane Jelly jingle one of the best and most recognisable advertisement catchphrases of the past 40 years, a runner-up to Mortein's "Louie the Fly" jingle. [cite news |first=Jacinta |last=Koch |title=Louie tops ad poll ... but wait, there's more |publisher="Courier Mail" |date=1999-11-30 |page=7] In June 2008, Joy King's recording of the jingle was added to the National Film and Sound Archive's Sounds of Australia registry. [cite web |url= |title=2008 additions |accessdate=2008-06-20 |publisher=National Film and Sound Archive] [cite web |url= |title=Aussie sounds protected forever |accessdate=2008-06-20 |last=Edwards |first=Michael |date=2008-06-19 |work= |publisher=ABC Radio AM Program]


External links

* [ Official Aeroplane Jelly website]
* [ Aeroplane Jelly] , National Film and Sound Archive
* [ In the spotlight: Aeroplane Jelly] , Marketing Magazine
* [ Aeroplane jelly song: words and music] Music Australia

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