Tony's Chocolonely Uses Lawsuit for a New Campaign

Tony's Chocolonely Uses Lawsuit for a New Campaign

News by Roberto Orosa
Published: February 27, 2024

After receiving a legal injunction from Mondelēz International over its use of purple packaging, Tony's Chocolonely re-released a campaign acknowledging the issue while staying true to its advocacies.

A spokesperson for the Dutch chocolate company emphasized their commitment to addressing critical issues in cocoa farming despite the setback.

"We’ve had to change our bar but that doesn’t mean we’ll stop raising awareness around the biggest problems in cocoa, which include lack of living income, child exploitation, and deforestation," the spokesperson added.

Notably, Tony's Chocolonely also addressed the legal injunction made by Mondelēz through a post it made on LinkedIn.

According to the post, over 1.56 million children are involved in child labor, and are exploited in cocoa farms.

It then reaffirmed its stance in raising the issue, and showcased new packaging for one of its chocolate bars, highlighting that it is "clearly not purple."

"After spending way too much time with people in suits (aka lawyers), we launched a brand new grey bar that’s definitely, totally, 100% not purple – all within 24 hours," the post wrote.

Why Did Mondelēz File A Lawsuit Against Tony's?

Mondelēz International has taken legal action against one of its independent competitors, Tony’s Chocolonely, to safeguard its iconic purple packaging.

The move follows Tony’s recent campaign in Germany and Austria, which mirrored packaging from various chocolate brands including Mondelēz's Milka, to shed light on child labor in cocoa farming.

"As a matter of practice, to protect the values of our brands, which we have worked hard to build over hundreds of years, we express our concerns to third parties when they are using a protected brand element," a Mondelēz spokesperson shared.

In response to the global confectionary giant's legal injunction, Tony’s has ceased distributing its purple-packaged bars temporarily.

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A Timeline of Mondelēz's Legal Disputes

Mondelēz has a history of defending its purple branding.

In the U.K., it engaged in a prolonged legal dispute with Nestlé over the use of purple in packaging. While Mondelēz ultimately lost the case, it continues to assert its trademark rights, which were established in 1995.

However, Mondelēz’s legal efforts extend beyond Nestlé.

The company has issued cease and desist letters to other entities, including Nurture Brands, for using lilac packaging reminiscent of Milka.

Experts stress the importance of protecting brand assets, including colors, to preserve brand identity and effectiveness. Morgan Holt, chief strategy officer at Saffron Brand Consultants, underscores the significance of defending brands' most distinctive elements.

"This is a company that invests and believes in its brands. Some other companies would do the same to protect their big global brands. For example, I could imagine Coca-Cola being concerned about another brand using its Coca-Cola red," a former Mondelēz marketer shared with AdWeek.

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