The UK General Election - 4th July 2024

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Toblerone drops iconic Matterhorn: great loss or exciting opportunity?

Rebecca Sharples

Senior Creative

Picture it: you’re off on holiday. You arrive at the airport and settle in for your “gate wait”, ranging anywhere between 30 minutes and 10 hours. You know what you need. The airport Toblerone is, for some, a fundamental part of going on a trip. You pick up the yellow triangular block. Something is different.

News broke recently that Toblerone are having to remove the classic Matterhorn logo from its packaging, as well as having to refer to the chocolate as being “Established in Switzerland” instead of “from Switzerland”. As the company moves production to Slovakia the “Swissness” rule comes into effect, stipulating that 80% of raw materials must come from Switzerland in order to have this level of association with the country and its symbols. Similar to how Champagne must come from the Champagne region.

It can be difficult to communicate a rebrand well, and even more so when that change is forced rather than an active decision to make your identity stronger. And the Matterhorn is arguably a crucial part of Toblerone’s identity. So much so they based the shape on it, and the triangularity is what makes a Toblerone, well, a Toblerone.

The Toblerone has been the “mountain-shaped” chocolate for over 100 years, with the Matterhorn on the packaging being a key part of that visual association for consumers. How are people reacting to its imminent loss?

While some are saddened by the change, others believe that as Toblerone are now free of being tied to their graphic traditions, they may explore some more modern visuals. Certainly, this is how Toblerone are framing it, as they will be creating something more “streamlined”, with a more generic mountain. But the loss of the visual and wording could mean they face difficulty selling to consumers at the same premium price that they’ve been enjoying for so long. Will their legacy help them to keep this price and retain consumers in a cost-of-living crisis?

It will be an interesting case to watch play out, and their success will lie in whether they celebrate this change or try to sweep it under the rug. The most successful rebrands, regardless of reasoning, are communicated as positive changes – a chance for growth and strengthening. It will be exciting to see how the Toblerone packaging will explore its new visual wilderness, and how it will toe the line between embracing a new streamlined mountain and retaining the traditions people have become accustomed to. The proof will be in the pudding.

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