Originally made by the Good Humour ice cream company in New Jersey, Bubble O’ Bills were released in Australia in the mid-1980s and became an instant hit.
Today, the ice-cream sheriff with the bubblegum nose sits alongside other iconic Aussie snacks like fairy bread, lamingtons and Tim Tams.
Now, you might think such an elaborately shaped ice cream would have trouble remaining intact when transported across our Great Southern Land.
And, you would be right.
Part of the fun of buying a Bubble O’ Bill is finding out how bad he looks. Sometimes, the damage is minimal:
Other times, he looks like he just stopped a runaway stagecoach with his face:
It doesn’t matter. In many ways Bubble O’ Bill is a lot like Keith Richards; no matter how bad he looks, we still love him. And we keep loving him, even when he’s embroiled in bizarre controversies like:
The time he was accused of being sexist.
The time he used his platform as an ice-cream icon to denounce unsolicited nude imagery.
The time he became a tub ice cream and outraged a nation by containing candy pieces instead of bubble gum.
Oh, and then there was the time he had a sister.
Yes, apparently the world of ice cream marketing is a lot like a mediocre soap opera, because in 2020 Bubble O’ Bill discovered he had a long lost sister, Bubble O’ Jill.
With the tagline “There’s a new sheriff in town” Jill was advertised as not just the equal to Bill, but his superior. She had beauty, brains and a smile that, when viewed from a certain angle, looked a bit like a blonde moustache.
Interestingly, she also had no bullet hole in her hat.
The women of Australia rejoiced. After decades of being overlooked by ice cream manufacturers, we finally had a frozen treat that spoke to, and for, us.
So what, exactly, did Jill have to say?
RESEARCH AND FURTHER READING:
Bill might be sexist: