Celebrity News

Fair Go stars’ treasured moments

The Fair Go team takes a look back through New Zealand's celluloid history and shares exclusively with the Weekly their cherished ad memories.
Fair go presenters

Ches and Dale, Hugo, Spot the dog and the Ajax Spray ‘n’ Wipe lady – love them or hate them, these and many other TV advertisement characters have become a special part of New Zealand’s on-screen history, as has the show that judges them.

Each year Kiwis vote on advertisements offered up to us by the Fair Go team and judge which ads they think deserve the prestigious title of best, as well as worst.

Always a highlight in the TV calendar, the awards are still going strong since the first show in the mid 1980s and continues to be one the highest-rated programmes on the box each year.

The Fair Go team takes a look back through New Zealand’s celluloid history and shares exclusively with the Weekly their cherished ad memories.

Gordon Harcourt:

I can’t go past the BASF cassette tape “Dear John” ad. I just looked it up and found it was from 1971!

I’m getting old. I was a big oAS*H fan and think it’s such a great song. For those who don’t remember it, it shows a gormless-looking soldier in Korea receiving a cassette tape (remember them?) from his loved one, as his mates watch on. The dialogue goes:

“It’s from my girl Shirley, we’re gonna be married!”

(Puts cassette in player)

“Dear John, oh how I hate to write. Dear John, I must let you know tonight, that my love for you is gone, so I’m sending you this song. Tonight I’m with another, you’ll like him John, he’s your brother. So adieu to you forever, dear John.”

BASF – Even the bad times sound good.

“Play it again, John.”

Both my mum and dad were in ads. Dad wasn’t built like Dan Carter, but modelled for Jockey in the 1960s, and Mum played Mumble in the Colman’s Spongy Pud ad in the 1970s.

Alison Mau:

The ad I remember from the 1970s is KFC’s animated “Hugo & Holly”.

Looking at it now, you can see how un-PC it is on obvious levels. But my sisters and I loved it back then.

Ruwani Perera:

My favourite childhood ad would have to be KFC’s “Hugo & Holly” commercial. As kids, my brother, sister and I would be in the back of the Hillman Hunter on car trips singing the ad’s jingle.

I knew all of the words and even had a Hugo hand puppet I’d use as a prop.

I can’t recall when I had my first KFC Quarter Pack, but the memory of that catchy little song remains to this day.

Phil Vine:

They were “the boys from down on the farm”, and they really knew their cheese. Growing up in small-town South Island, many of my classmates’ parents actually looked like Ches and Dale.

I would have a fantastically rubbery Chesdale triangle in my lunchbox every day. And, “Finest cheddar, made better,” must be one of the simultaneously worst and best half-rhymes in the history of New Zealand advertising. It’s claimed that a member of a 1970s trade delegation on a trip to Ireland, when asked to share a traditional New Zealand folk song, recited the Chesdale Cheese jingle. Genius.


Here at the Weekly we’ve judged Fair Go‘s best ads of the last few years to bring you our top five clips. It’s a bugger we couldn’t fit more in!


Toyota “Bugger”

It’s true, New Zealanders sometimes don’t say too much and a simple word will normally do it. This was possibly the easiest job a scriptwriter ever had!


Mitre 10 “sandpit”

This gorgeous ad will forever be remembered for pioneering the phrase, “oate, you’re dreaming!” Nothing like a little friendly trans-Tasman rivalry in the sandpit.


Instant kiwi “bungee”

Re-made for the 20th anniversary of Instant Kiwi, this ad is iconic. With its familiar jingle and can-do Kiwi attitude, it definitely told us how to live a little.


Hyundai “Santa Fe”

Featuring possibly the most adorable kids on the planet, this ad wasn’t without its controversy. It was banned in Australia, but we in New Zealand rewarded it with the Best Ad title in 2006.


Toyota “believe rope swing”

Always a contender for the Best Ad crown, Toyota did it again last year with this lovable dad and his homemade rope swing. It made us rethink holiday fun.

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