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Chesdale Cheese is a variety of cheese produced for the mass market in New Zealand. It is chiefly known for its animated television advertising with the jingle sung by two cartoon characters Ches and Dale wearing gumboots and black singlets. The commercial was created by art director Don Couldrey and copywriter Robert Merlyn Jenkins in 1969. The jingle was learned off by heart and sung in a variety of ingeniously distorted fashions by generations of New Zealand children. It is considered a major Kiwiana element, and has sometimes been semi-seriously proffered as an icon of New Zealand culture. The original packaging of the cheese was very distinctive. The gold-coloured, aluminium foil-wrapped, triangular segments were packed in a disc-shaped box about 20 mm deep × 120 mm diameter. The cheese therefore remained moist and hygienic. It was widely used in school lunches from the 1960s until the early 1980s in New Zealand. Various flavours were developed such as cheese and onion and smoky bacon.
The original words to the jingle are as follows:
We are the boys from down on the farm,
We really know our cheese.
There's much better value in Chesdale,
It never fails to please.
Chesdale slices thinly, never crumbles, there's no waste,
And boy it's got a mighty taste.
It's finest cheddar. Made better.
Ches and Dale and their advertising jingle have become Kiwiana: likely to induce fond memories of childhood in Kiwis of the right age group. They also came back with Ches Junior: this brand of cheese, or a derivative thereof, is still produced and sold in individually wrapped, pre-sliced portions. This (combined with its highly processed nature) has given it the popular slang name of "plastic cheese" or (more formally) "processed cheese".
A mascot of this venture called "Mr. Slicy" has been a huge hit in the Middle East.
Today Chesdale Cheese is produced by Fonterra and distributed widely in New Zealand supermarkets. The brand has been distributed internationally with varieties such as Chocolate Cheese being produced from 2005 for the Asian market, where Chesdale Cheese is worth $25 million per annum.
- From Zero to 360 degrees: Cultural Ownership in a Post-European Age - Mane-Wheoki, Jonathan; University of Canterbury, International Council of Museums, Council for Education and Cultural Action Conference, New Zealand, via the Christchurch Art Gallery website. Accessed 2009-10-27.
- Parliamentary Library archives have the transcript of a speech Mike Moore while he was Minister of Overseas Trade and Marketing, entitled 'Towards a New Zealand Identity' and delivered at the opening of Air Force Recording Studio, Auckland, August 1988; in which he said "I am reminded of a New Zealand Minister and a group of New Zealand Dairy Board delegates at a function in Ireland, after which the Irish sang their songs. When New Zealand's turn came, they looked embarrassed, sang a disjointed and inaccurate 'Pokarekare Ana', and then, inspired by a creative Dairy Board member, got up and sang the jingle 'We are the boys from down on the farm, we really know our cheese.'" - cited at Chesdale Cheese on folksong.org.nz website, viewed 2013-08-27
- "Fonterra takes big bite of Asian cheese market". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
- "Fonterra - An error occurred finding your page.". fonterra.com. Retrieved 26 May 2015.