Friday, August 12, 2011

Swiss Miss brand history

Swiss Miss is an American brand of cocoa mix powders and chocolate puddings. Having been with the American people for half a century, it is one those classic brands that many remember growing up with.

Thanks to the Internet, innovative companies and people willing to share their collections, we can get a good view of how the brand and its packaging has progressed through the years. A special thanks to Jason Liebig who has given me permission to use some images from his collection. If you want even more packaging nostalgia, you should visit his Flickr photostream.

Swiss Miss original logo, used from the 1960s until the mid-1980s.

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The "instant cocoa mix" powder, which creates delicious hot cocoa by just adding water, was developed by Sanna Dairies in Wisconsin, who were also manufacturing instant dry milk. It was originally served on airlines. In the early 1960s, Sanna Dairies were packing the product under the name "Swiss Miss Instant Cocoa Mix" and selling it to grocers. The original packaging was developed with "old world" aestethics, with decorative flowers and an old calligraphy typeface for the logo. A newspaper article published in February 1963 explained it thusly:
"The chocolate flavor developed by Sanna Dairies is reminiscent of delicious Swiss milk chocolate... thus the name and the attractive "old world" design package."
The black-and-white image of a Swiss Miss package on the right is from a 1962 ad. It may well have been the very first Swiss Miss packaging design.


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From the Jason Liebig collection.
"Swiss misses" were a part of marketing the product early on. Around 1963, costumers could buy "genuine Swiss Miss dolls" by sending in three dollars and a boxtop to the company.

At some point in the 1960s, a more grown-up "Swiss miss" was added to the package design. Sanna Dairies were bought by Beatrice Foods in the 1960s. The example on the right is either from the late 1960s or early 1970s and featured both the Sanna logo (in the front) and the Beatrice Foods logo (on the back).

In the early 1970s, Swiss Miss introduced a claymation doll, who would star in ads and on packaging. In TV commercials, the doll introduced herself as "Swiss Miss" and spoke in a gentle, happy voice. Below is a still from one the earlier TV ads with the Swiss Miss doll (note that the package in this picture features the older non-claymation miss).


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Uploaded to Youtube user Genius7277, who claims it is from 1972.


The claymation Swiss Miss also became a part of the package design. The example below is dated 1972.


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From the Jason Liebig collection.


The package design you see below was introduced in the mid-1970s, and was to remain with only minor changes until the mid-1980s.


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From the Jason Liebig collection.


Swiss Miss logo used until the mid-late-2000s.


The Swiss Miss packaging was completely overhauled around 1986/1987. Gone were the decorative flowers and the brown background. Instead we got a lightblue image of Swiss alps. The logotype switched to capital letters and became slightly arched, but still used a calligraphy-like typeface.

This also seems to have been the end of the claymation Swiss Miss. Judd Hirsch had already taken over after her as spokesman in TV ads, and now she was replaced on pakcaging as well by a picture of a real girl in Swiss costume.

Leon Richman Design claims they designed this packaging in 1986.


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Ad dated 1987. From a Youtube video uploaded by IxAMxABU.


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From the Jason Liebig collection.


At some point, the real-life Swiss Miss girl was also scrapped, and since then the packaging has been girl-free.

In 1990, Beatrice Foods was bought by ConAgra Foods, who have kept the brand in their portfolio since then.


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An updated design was introduced around 2006-2007. Created by Wallace Church, it intended to enhance equity aspects and bring a more premium feel to the packaging. The logo was refreshed by adding a blue background plate behind it. Aside from the logo update, the packaging formula from the 1980s didn't change to much.


Logo used from 2006/2007 until 2010.


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A special design for products targeting kids, like "Marshmallow Madness" below, was later developed by Haugaard Creative Group.
"Vibrant colors, dynamic product placement and a kid-centric version of the Swiss Miss logo generates true excitement and combine to drive request at shelf. The result is a design vision that translates easily to any future product innovations." - Haugaard Creative Group


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The current package design for Swiss Miss was introduced in 2010, it seemed to have the same objective as the previous redesign; maintaining equity and giving a premium feel with a refined logo.


Logo since 2010.

5 comments:

  1. I just drank a glass of Swiss Miss choco last night and this morning. I love the taste it leaves in my mouth. The smooth rich flavor of the cocoa is so delightful. Swiss Miss choco with marshmallows is my favorite.

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  2. Ultimate locally sourced product. Milk they use is from local dairy farms. Love it.

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  3. Probably 30 years ago I ordered from Swiss Miss a Cloth Swiss Miss cloth doll. It came printed on fabric and had to be cut out, sewed together and stuffed. I know I sent in a lable or UPC seal. I wish I could order something simalar again. Does anyone else remember this doll?

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  4. i not only remember the doll i also have her she is still in plastic and great condition as well, she is 14" tall eyes close when laying down and open when sitting or standing would like to find a collector to sell to.

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  5. there have marvellous Swiss Miss brand history. i love this kind of food brands. its really my choice lots of yummy eat products. thanks about this post.

    Singapore Marketing Agency | Best Brand Marketing Singapore

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