Peaks of imperfection

by Cliff Moore, Account Director, Deep South Media


They used to look like Swiss Alps – now they resemble alligator teeth devices in car parks.

And, frankly, I think I’d rather drive over one than eat one at present.

I’m referring, of course, to Toblerone.

The recent redesign of the chunky, triangular honey-almond nougat bar has left chocoholics up in arms.

Toblerone’s USP has always been its shape – those iconic mountain peaks of chocolate that are often so hard to snap off.

Now US manufacturer Mondelez International, which also owns Cadbury, has changed all that as a means of reducing the weight of a bar.

Blaming, as ever, the rising costs of ingredients, Mondelez chose to revamp the shape rather than just make the Toblerone shorter.

Surely only aficionados would have noticed if one peak had been lopped off.

Or even, heaven forfend, why did they not just put the price up if the product was becoming more expensive to make?

An avalanche of criticism has poured down on Mondelez for modifying their product, but at least the firm has attempted to manage change by explaining the reasons behind the decision.

However, that probably won’t wash with the great chocolate-eating public who will see it as the equivalent of making Polos without the holes.

There have been numerous examples of manufacturers shrinking candy bars rather than increasing prices.

And there is a history of controversy with Cadbury products – rounded edges on Dairy Milk bars, no Bournville in the Heroes tub, sultanas in Fruit & Nut and cheaper chocolate on Crème Eggs.

Consumers are not stupid and quickly perceive when they are not getting full value from a product.

And with Toblerone, named after a corruption of the Italian words for honey-almond nougat, the change could not have been more pronounced.

So, will this episode harm Toblerone or will the product so inexorably linked with airports and Christmas survive?

It might well eventually be revealed, when the dust finally settles, to have been a most marvellous marketing exercise.

If that’s the case, I’ll take my Swiss Alpine hat off to whoever thought it up.

Especially because they didn’t mention Brexit once.