Ritter Sport chocolate bars are known for two pretty iconic things. First: despite being literal chocolate, they’ve somehow managed to associate themselves with fitness. Second: they are ALWAYS square.
But it’s not just a chance thing that these handy bars are the only square bar on the shelves at your local newsagents. They weren’t JUST doing it to stand out: there’s actually some logic behind it.
According to the BBC, the German company's bars have been square since 1932 when co-founder of Ritter Sport (or Ritter’s Sport Chokolade, as it was known then) Clara Ritter suggested designing a chocolate bar that would fit perfectly in the pocket of a sports jacket (hence the “sport” in Ritter Sport). By being square, the bar would never risk hanging out or potentially getting broken, unlike its oblong counterparts. And so, it was born…
After the end of the Second World War when Alfred and Clara’s son Alfred Otto took over, the couple’s heir decided to focus heavily on the square bar products, gradually dropping almost everything else the company made.
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By 1970, the company was all-in on squares, adopting the tagline: “Quadratisch, praktisch, gut", which they roughly translate to ‘quality chocolate, squared’. It was their USP and they were smashing it out the park.
The case went to court and, long story short, Milka won at first – but the decision was overturned in Ritter’s favour.
Normally, brands in Germany can’t claim their products’ shape adds value. However, because of Ritter’s long history and how generations of chocolate lovers had grown to associate their square design with the brand’s quality, the court made a special case for Ritter’s square bars.
So while it seems like Ritter’s shape could have been made on a whim, not only was Clara and her husband thinking about the SAFETY of our chocolate in our pockets, but it ended up boosting their brand image to the point the law literally made an exception for them when it came to trademarking. Go team Ritter!
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