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Re-imagining an Estonian legend


Kalev is Estonia’s most famous and iconic brand, a chocolate and sweets maker with a history stretching back to the early 19th century. It was one of the few brands that managed the transition from being a Soviet plan manufacturer to becoming a modern brand.

However, over the past 30 years it grew ad-hoc. New products were created, added, amended and changed. New packages were created for similar products and the range became cluttered with little distinction between products and sub-brands. Kalev was starting to lose its iconic status, especially with the younger generations.

Our guiding thought was to be careful and not fix anything that wasn’t broken. We first went through the available quantitative data. Then came the store checks, conversations with consumers all over Estonia followed by focus groups to understand the context where the customer makes the decision to buy (or not). On top of that we did a detailed brand audit that took in the whole length and breadth of the core chocolate brand as well as all the sub-brands. Once the information was gathered, we were able to place consumer behaviour in the context of consumption and purchases, and understand exactly how they viewed Kalev and what they saw as alternatives.

The customer research clearly pointed out that individual and distinct products are more memorable to people, where the taste is clearly unique and which people can describe and name. For example, Maiuspala candies, Tiina marmalade or Tuljak special handmade candies. This dictated the need to reorganise the varied product portfolio so that individual products are sufficiently distinctive and to exclude duplicate products in different packages.

Therefore, we restructured Kalev’s wide range into three clearly defined value segments, the foundation of which are classic simple candies, marmalades and caramels such as Kaseke, Komeet, Tiina and others. The central part and pillar of the product pyramid are well-known and high-quality bar chocolates and outstanding flavors such as Maiuspala, Linnupiim and Anneke. The really special and expensive artisan candies and truffles are placed at the top – the legendary Kannel, Tuljak and others.

Together with Kalev and KOOR’s packaging design team we worked over a year to develop the look and feel of Kalev, reflecting the ambition of the brand for the future. The signature colours of Kalev were chosen based on the results of consumer testing conducted with the help of the research company Norstat, where sweets lovers from all over Estonia evaluated the visibility of the packages on the store shelves, the unity and attractiveness of the product line, and the recognizability of their favorite products.

Kalev’s new packaging is the bearer of a distinctive, strong and bold brand, the most important element of which is the blue signature logo, which ties the entire product portfolio together. We thoughtfully use the strongest brand assets to create a unified and distinctive visual design language – placement of the Kalev logo across different packaging types and price segments, consistent use of typography, flavour icons created just for Kalev and a specific colour corner element that changes with the flavours.

Kalev going forward

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