Tip Top launches Top Notch range, looks to capitalise on the booming premium ice cream market

Every year, in the lead up to summer, the major ice cream brands operating across the nation, release new flavours in a bid to attract consumers that search for respite from the heat in the shape of frozen dairy products. And for this year’s edition of the frozen aisle battle, Fonterra-owned Tip Top has added a new contender into the mix by launching the Top Notch range of premium ice creams.      

The Top Notch ice cream range includes flavours like Magadascan Vanilla, Crisp Mint and Berry Forest among others, and are available in both stick and tub formats.

“This is our biggest launch for many years at Tip Top, we are very excited to make delicious flavours and indulgent ice creams accessible for all Kiwis with new Top Notch,” says Fonterra group marketing director Minna Reinikkala. “And like all Tip Top products, they are made by kiwis for kiwis, the way they like their ice cream to be; with only fresh milk and cream, natural colours and flavours and no palm oil – a distinct difference to other brands in the market.”

The reference to palm oil is important, given that Tip Top invested heavily in removing the substance from all 150 Tip Top ice cream flavours in 2011. And while the investment this required led to short-term losses for the company, the long-term thinking was commended at the 2014 edition of the TVNZ NZ Marketing Awards, with the judging panel awarding Tip Top the FMCG and sustainability trophies.

In keeping with this sustainable approach, the Top Notch range of products will similarly not contain any palm oil.

To promote what is essentially an entirely new brand within its portfolio, Tip Top has launched a multi-pronged campaign via Colenso BBDO that stretches across TV, on-demand, billboards, Adshels and social channels, including Facebook and Instagram. 

Although the brand has a more premium positioning, Colenso executive creative director Steve Cochran says the aim was to make it as accessible as possible.       

“We liked the idea of reflecting these real and attainable moments rather than creating a brand that lives in world very few people actually get to enjoy,” says Cochran.

“For someone living in a house full of flatmates, having the house and bathtub to yourself is a luxurious moment to be enjoyed. Even better if you’ve got the tub of Top Notch from the freezer to yourself as well.”

These sentiments were also mirrored by account director Cath Bosson, who differentiated the branding from more conventional premium advertising that often borrows from the glamour of gelato culture in Europe—something far removed from the Kiwi lifestyle.  

“We know Tip Top has broad appeal, and we had permission from our consumers to be a little bit classier than we have been to date and to grow up with our ice cream lovers. We’re not about being super premium or luxury, but rather a step up from your everyday ice creams and something a little bit more special and indulgent than you might be used to from Tip Top … Ice cream doesn’t have to be pretentious – it’s not old school luxury and european models biting into ice creams in an Italian piazza in front of a Ferrari.  To kiwis class and quality is understated, a tub in the tub, a late night treat early in the morning, a red carpet moment in your living room.”

Bosson also says that the primary target market of Kiwis aged 18 to 34 years old played a significant role in determining the direction of the brand.  

“With many consumers Tip Top is seen as more of a family brand,  or something loved from our childhoods, and not necessarily as relevant to people’s lives today as it was back then,” Bosson says. “Top Notch is our new range that is more flavour led, with more interesting and premium flavours than you’d find in a two-litre tub, as well as smaller sized tubs that better suit smaller households (or couples sharing) with thick cracking chocolate and ice cream on a stick to better deliver to indulgence needs.”

The shift into premium ice cream also makes commercial sense, given that data from Statistics New Zealand shows the price of premium ice cream increasing significantly over the last two decades while bulk ice cream has remained relatively stagnant (interestingly, the ice block pricing is growing even faster).  

When viewed in light of the exorbitant prices charged by the like of Giapo, it is clear that Kiwis are willing to pay for quality ice cream. And Tip Top will be hoping the same principle also applies to its new range.  


Agency: Colenso BBDO
Production: 8com
Director – Andy Morton
Editor – Levi Beamish
Producer – Gene Keelan
Photography – Karen Inderblitzen-Walker & Avril Planqueel

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