In the fifth part of our series on extraordinary and iconic packaging, we will be taking a closer look at packaging that is immediately recognisable in any chocolate selection in stores, thanks to two specific features. A company history of 120 years and clear branding in when it comes to packaging design have made Milka’s lilac cow a true icon, and not just among chocolate fans.
We hope you enjoy reading! Your Tightly Packed editorial team
For the first time in the company’s 120-year history, Milka’s packaging shows real cows. Photo: Mondelēz International
The Milka cow is now a real, live cow
Gerda, Moocha, Marisa, Lola and Katja – what may sound like a list of this year’s most popular girl’s names are actually the names of cows. And not just any cows: these are the names of the Milka cows. On the special limited edition packaging of the five flavours Alpine Milk, Whole Hazelnuts, Noisette, Luflée and Cow Pattern, the lilac Milka cow takes a break and lets the real cows shine. In parallel to the release of this unusual chocolate packaging, Milka raised further awareness by means of cooperations with influencers, social media campaigns and widespread campaigns in digital media and TV alongside promotions at the POS.
With the Discover the real Milka cows campaign, Milka lets real cows take centre stage, and not just on the outside of the packaging: when opened, the inside of the packaging reveals information on the respective cow’s life. For example, the packaging for the Whole Hazelnuts flavour reads, “Moocha is a Red Holstein – but in her own mind, she’s a princess.”
Alongside the packaging campaign, the company also offers customers the opportunity to dive even deeper into the Alpine world. Under the heading Next Stop: Urban Alps, the company cooperates with selected hotels in Berlin, Hamburg and Düsseldorf, where customers can book five different rooms with designs inspired by the five cows and their personalities.
For decades, the lilac packaging and lilac cow have been Milka chocolate’s trademark. Starting with Milka’s very first chocolate bar, produced in 1901, the packaging has been lilac and shown a picture of a cow. Back then, this was a black ink drawing.
In 1922, the cow took a more central position on the packaging and was turned gold – as was the brand’s logo, the prominent Milka lettering in cursive writing. 28 years later, in 1950, the gold colouring was replaced by white, and three years after that, the logo became a registered trademark. And another two years later, in 1955, lilac became the official brand colour. In 1973, the Milka cow as we know it was developed by Young & Rubicam and has been depicted on Milka packaging ever since – these limited editions being the exception.
For more than 40 years, Milka chocolate has been available as 200 and 300 gram bars. In 2007, the company replaced aluminium foil with Flow Pack packaging.
In 1988, the lilac brand underwent its first large rebranding. Since then, the cow and alpine world have been featured more prominently. Precisely 30 years later, the Milka lettering was given a more modern look and feel, and the shadows around the letters were removed, making them appear a bit flatter. The dot above the i has also changed and is now reminiscent of a drop of milk. And the cow herself has changed as well: now, she faces to the right instead of the left and no longer has the Milka lettering on her tummy. Overall, the flavours are displayed more prominently after the redesign, and the foil packaging is now matte. Key information on nutritional values are displayed on the back of the packaging in a larger font than usual so that consumers can read them “without a magnifying glass”, according to company statements
THE HISTORY OF MILKA PACKAGING
1901 On 19 March 1901, the company registered the Milka trademark. Milka is a combination of the first syllables of Milch [milk] and Kakao [cocoa]. In 1901, the first bar of Milka chocolate was wrapped in the famous lilac paper.
In 1901, the first bar of Milka chocolate was wrapped in the famous lilac paper. Photo: Mondelēz International
1922 In 1922, the Milka logo was enlarged and designed in gold.
Milka chocolate was given a larger logo in gold in 1922. Photo: Mondelēz International
1950 In 1950, the chocolate once again received a new packaging design. The logo is now white, the background lilac.
In 1950, the logo changed to white and the background to lilac. Milka chocolate bar 1950. Photo: Mondelēz International
1972 In 1972, Young & Rubicam developed the Milka cow which became Milka’s central advertising figure in 1973.
2007 Since 2007, Milka has been available in Flow Pack packaging which has replaced aluminium foil. This foil packaging weighs less than half of the conventional version made out of paper and aluminium and as a result has a better CO2 value. At the same time, the packaging is more eco-friendly due to its reduced weight.
2018 Milka bars packed in matte foil have been available in stores since 2018. The new chocolate bar packaging makes Milka’s wide range of different flavours stand out. The back provides information on ingredients and nutritional values in a larger font, providing consumers with comprehensive information on the products.
Since 2007, Milka has been sold in Flow Pack packaging. Photo: Mondelēz International