The inventor of Aeroplane Jelly was a tram driver. Bert Appleroth first made jelly crystals at home in his bathtub and began distributing them along his Sydney tram route. He subsequently formed a company called Traders Ltd with a partner, Albert Francis Lenertz and the brand was launched in 1927. The famous Aeroplane Jelly song was written by Lenertz and first recorded in 1930. However, the most popular version was recorded in 1938 by a seven-year-old girl who won a New South Wales-wide competition.
From the beginning, the brand was heavily promoted. The jingle was first recorded by Amy Rochelle, a music hall entertainer who did child imitations. However, the best-known version was sung by the young Joy King. Another finalist in the competition to find a vocalist for the jingle, Tommy Dawes, was the model for the image of the whistling boy who appeared on packaging for 40 years. He was paid 10 guineas for his services.
In the 1940s, the jingle was played up to 100 times a day on Sydney radio – a saturation campaign that was unequalled at the time. The brand was also promoted in other ingenious ways, including jelly being dropped from a plane onto Sydney beaches and filmed advertisements in cinemas. You can see an early cinema ad here. One of the first commercials on Australian television in 1956 was a spot featuring the Aeroplane Jelly song. In 1966, the famous jingle was recorded in Greek, Italian, Russian and Croatian.
The brand is still around and the range has expanded considerably to include mousse, jelly slices and cheesecake.