The Meaningful Chocolate Company has been forced to redesign its faith based range after it was advised that ‘Advent purple belongs to Cadbury’.
Last year the Manchester-based Meaningful Chocolate Company designed chocolate tree decorations to help parents and grandparents share the Christmas story with children. The box they came in was advent purple with a picture of Mary and Jesus on the front. In the box was a copy of the Christmas story and a Nativity character sticker set, used to decorate five blank chocolate discs.
However, the company has been advised, by its legal team, that Cadbury has secured the rights to the colour purple in the UK.
David Marshall, from the Meaningful Chocolate Company, said: “We are a British chocolate manufacturer which produces fairtrade gifts around the Christian festivals and raise tens of thousands of pounds a year for charities such a Traidcraft Exchange. We’ve have had great success with The Real Easter Egg, the UK’s first religious Easter Egg and our Meaningful Christmas Tree decorations which have a copy of the Christmas story in each box. However, we have been legally advised that we were on dodgy ground this year because we were using ‘advent purple’ for our Christmas products and ‘advent purple’ now belongs to Cadbury. We understand that anything that might be interpreted as purple needs to be avoided. For this reason we have changed the packaging of our religious Christmas Tree Decorations. This year advent is a warm red.”
Purple is the colour worn by clergy during Advent (in preparation for Christmas) and Lent (in preparation for Easter). Many bishops wear purple shirts.
David Marshall said: “We believe there was little chance of confusion. Our box of Meaningful Christmas Tree Decorations are very different from Cadbury’s own decorations in a number of ways. Our chocolate is Fairtrade, Cadbury’s is not. A charitable donation is made from every sale, Cadbury’s do not do this. We have Jesus, Mary and characters on the front of our box and a copy of the Christmas story inside, Cadbury have a mostly white box with a snowman on the front and secular tree decorations in a plastic cover. The reason we use purple is that it has been used for centuries by the church during advent…. but apparently no longer…it appears that the association is now with Cadbury.
Who owns purple?
Companies usually register a logo with various colour options but it is very unusual for them to have rights to large parts of the spectrum. Cadbury’s have fought to have purple (in particular pantone 2685c) recognised across the world. Their most recent application in Australia was rejected.
A spokesperson for Traidcraft, which is committed to working with smaller cocoa farmers overseas, said: “We’re delighted to be the sole stockist for the Meaningful Christmas Tree Decorations. We believe consumers are wise enough to distinguish between what big business does and our better-than-fair approach to ethical trading. ”