Many countries have their own distinctive chocolate brand. In the UK, it’s Cadbury’s, in the US it’s Hershey’s but in Finland it is Fazer.
Founded by Karl Fazer, who had gone against his father’s wishes to train as a confectioner. He studied baking in Berlin, Paris and Saint Petersburg before opening a French-Russian confectionery café at Kluuvikatu 3 in Helsinki on 17 September 1891.
So this week is Fazer’s 125th anniversary and I thought I would mark it with a short story about the birth of their first product brand – Kiss Kiss and its slightly surprising brand icons.
Kiss Kiss dates back to 1897 and, although it wasn’t registered until 1901, it is still Finland’s oldest trademark. Kiss Kiss have light, crispy shells filled with delicious chewy toffee.
However, despite the name, the imagery associated with the brand has nothing to do with the pressing of lips. In those less liberal first days of the 20th century, nothing as racy as a man and woman actually kissing could be considered, and so the advertising and packaging featured women playing with kittens, or two kittens playing.
These soft, cuddly, cute, caramel kittens established themselves as the core brand icon and became extremely well known, so much so that in 1991 the little “Karamellikääreen” (caramel wrapper) cats appeared on a stamp celebrating the centennial of Finland’s confectionery industry, and no doubt on countless love letters.