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Matterhorn Mania Zermatt’s priceless peak

The Matterhorn is beloved by mountaineers and marketers alike, appearing on international products ranging from gunpowder to shower gel. A new exhibition in Zermatt, the town at its feet, brings together some of these consumer articles and gives insights into the fascination with the Matterhorn ‘brand’.

The mythical 4,478-metre mountain has become a global marketing asset, helping to sell products from all over the world. Whether it be cigarettes from Malaysia or beer from Canada, the iconic pyramid-shaped peak is an image that sells. 

The ‘Matterhorn Mania’ pop-up exhibitionexternal link on Zermatt’s Gornergrat mountain presents a selection of the weird-and-wonderful consumer goods that use the Matterhorn image. It looks at the history of the products and marketing executives’ fascination with the brand.

The exhibition was put together by the Swiss Alpine Museum in Bern, in collaboration with the Matterhorn Group and the Gornergratbahn mountain railway company. The Matterhorn Museum – Zermatlantis in Zermatt – also contributed several items. The exhibition runs until October 15, 2017. 

The Matterhorn was first conquered in 1865. Since then, Zermatt has attracted tourists and climbers from all over the world. Today, Zermatt generates half a billion francs in tourism revenue per year. 

Protecting the Matterhorn/Zermatt image and the brand has become a full-time occupation for the local authorities and tourist office. The resort registered the Matterhorn name with the Federal Institute of Intellectual Property in Bern and takes a proactive approach. 

Every month they receive numerous requests to use the Matterhorn for promotional purposes, whether selling small pieces of rock to attach to postcards or using the peak for guerrilla marketing campaigns. In each case, the commune and tourist office must give permission.