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Toblerone lops off its Matterhorn in a not so neutral battle

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Toblerone lops off its Matterhorn in a not so neutral battle


Switzerland may be a verb when it comes to neutrality, but it is possessive of its iconic Matterhorn. And, when Toblerone became a primarily American-owned brand, the triangle chocolate lost the rights to the mountain.

The image of the famous Matterhorn peeking through the clouds that has become synonymous with the Swiss chocolate will soon be retired. Its parent company Mondelez International says that it will be abiding by the strict ‘Swissness’ moniker enforced by Switzerland. 

An act was passed in 2017 that national symbols and Swiss crosses would no longer be allowed on the packaging of products that don’t meet Swissness. The argument behind this is that Swiss iconography is also a seal of quality. With the chocolate company becoming more US-owned than Swiss, it risked tarnishing this standard. 

CEO of Melbourne-based 99designs by Vista Patrick Llewellyn shared his thoughts with Marketing magazine about the unique ruling that would remove a mountain from chocolate packaging.

“A triangle in a world of squares, Toblerone has become an iconic, instantly recognisable global brand: one that’s strong enough to stand alone, irrespective of its Swissness. While it has undoubtedly benefited from the fiercely protected halo of Switzerland’s high-quality and authentic value proposition, the fact remains that Toblerone itself – established in 1908 – has the kind of heritage that brands around the world would kill for,” says Llewellyn.

Does Toblerone remain Swiss even with its move across the pond?

Llewellyn explores the identity of a nation with something as global as chocolate.

“This is a fascinating inflection point in the relationship between a national brand and a much-loved consumer brand; and it is quite possible that Toblerone has already benefited as much as it ever will from its ‘official’ Swissness,” Llewellyn explains.

“As such, the risks associated with the change are low: after 114 years, Toblerone will remain symbolically Swiss in the minds of consumers, even when the provenance of the product itself is a little more international.”


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Liv Croagh

Liv Croagh was the Managing Editor of Marketing Mag from September 2021 to September 2023.

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