When is a Toblerone not a Toblerone? That is the question currently being asked as the makers of the world’s most impractical but apparently "legendary" chocolate bar launch court action against budget store Poundland’s proposed if rather inaccurately named Twin Peaks (I counted twenty peaks on it). Will David Lynch also sue them for using the name of his soporific tv series?
This dispute shines a light on a common practice amongst discount shops who seem able to acquire lookalike products that can fool the consumer into thinking they’re buying something else. I recently bought a packet of what I thought were Crawfords custard creams (named in 2009 as the most dangerous biscuits- fact!- see below) but actually were called Tasters and made by someone else. The packaging was the same yellow shade, the typeface very similar so if you just picked it up quickly you'd assume it was the thing you were looking for. The biscuits themselves were alright but there was something missing, some deficiency that made them not quite as custard creamery as they should be. There are an increasing number of products like this; even big supermarkets indulge in the practice pushing well -known brand names further into obscurity.
Mondelēz who produce Toblerone recently redesigned the bar’s distinctive shape so it had less `peaks` saying this was an alternative to raising the price. Nothing unusual in that; `The Independent` recently reported over 2,500 products have shrunk in size or weight while remaining at the same price in recent years. Now the legal argument being used by Poundland is that the redesign effectively forfeits Toblerone’s trademark though anyone would surely still recognise it as the same thing? Perhaps a court case will need to bring in a sample of people to say whether or not they do recognise the redesigned bar as a Toblerone. The court case is pending and for now Twin Peaks is not in the shops.
It is the case that people did not respond well to last year’s Toblerone `re-design` (aka shrinking) which widened the gap between the peaks though actually that should make it easier to handle. Nonetheless there was “an outcry” over it with messages on the company’s Facebook page branding the change “stupid” and that it looked as if you were getting half the amount of chocolate.
|Theodore Tobler: "Poundland? I will destroy them all!"|
Toblerone was invented in 1908 in Switzerland by Theodor Tobler and Emil Baumann and its contents include almonds, honey and nougat. Its triangular shape was inspired by the Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps. The name comes from combining its inventor’s surname with the Italian word Torrone which is a nougat. It does demand some effort to eat; you can’t really bite off each triangle but if you try and break them off you’ll need considerable strength. Perhaps the Swiss thought everyone had a climbing pick in thier bag with which to hack off triangles of chocolate!
### A Daily Record story in 2009 claimed 25 million people had been injured by biscuits in Britain with about 500 needing hospital treatment (I’m honestly not making this up) Dangers were said to including “flying fragments”, dunking in “scalding hot” drinks, breaking a tooth on hard biscuit or choking on biscuit crumbs. The best incident they mentioned was a man who had waded into wet concrete to retrieve a stray biscuit and become stuck!