A chocolate surprise!

Toblerone competition front cover
Lancashire Archives: DDX 1291/247
The colouring page - click the magnifying glass to zoom in on the packaging illustration.
Lancashire Archives: DDX 1291/247
Competition rules
Lancashire Archives: DDX 1291/247

With Toblerone announcing in March that it is removing its iconic mountain logo from its packaging due to partially moving production from Switzerland to Slovakia, we were fascinated to discover a Toblerone leaflet for a 1930 children’s painting competition inside an 1860 estate ledger. It made interesting viewing as the logo does not display a mountain.

Produced in 1908 by Theodor Tobler, the milk chocolate bar with mountain-shaped pieces soon became very popular. Toblerone is a play on words, combining the name of the founder – Tobler – and the Italian word for honey and almond nougat – Torrone. Originally, the packaging had an eagle as part of it, but in 1920 this was replaced by a Bernese bear, the symbol of the Swiss capital – still found on packaging today. The mountain logo – allegedly, but disputedly, in the shape of the Matterhorn – originated in 1970. Due to 2017 ‘Swissness’ legislation strengthening protection for the ‘Made in Switzerland’ designation, a decision was made by the company to remove the mountain.

The front of the leaflet shows the clown and the audience using their fingers and the elephants using their trunks to form the ‘T’ shape for Toblerone. There is a lady on the left of the image carrying a tray of Toblerones to sell. This image clearly linked to the marketing slogan at the bottom of the page ‘T for Toblerone’. To take part in the painting competition in 1930, children under the age of 16 could enter as many times as they liked, as long as each entry was accompanied with a 3d Toblerone wrapper – a 4d wrapper if entering the competition from Ireland.

The picture inside for the  competition contained a range of cartoon characters, but what is curious is that one of the figures looks like Mickey Mouse. A lucky 254 entrants could win prizes, with first prizes for 11-16 year olds and under 11 year olds being £10. There were also 25 prizes of Tobler Ritz chocolates and 100 prizes of Tobler Queen of the Air chocolates for the second and third placed winners in both age groups.

The leaflet is a fascinating glimpse into the world of advertising from the 1930s, but how it found its way inside the pages of an estate ledger from the 1860s is a complete mystery!

Comments about this page

  • What a “sweet” surprise!

    By Peter Newsham (12/05/2023)

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