Pepero Day sweet for food retailers
Stores are stocking up on Pepero, a popular snack, and driving up the cookie maker’s sales as Nov. 11, Pepero Day, draws near.
Lotte Confectionary Co., which owns the Pepero brand, said yesterday that last month, it sold 13 billion won’s ($11.7 million) worth of the snack to food retailers.
“As a single product, this is the highest sales we’ve seen, second only to Xylitol gum. Sales of Pepero have seen double-digit growth since 2000,” said PR official Ahn Sung-keun.
The Pepero snack is a replica of Pocky, the Japanese treat of chocolate-dipped cookie sticks. The 11th of November is known as Pepero Day, because “11/11” looks like four sticks.
Pepero Day supposedly started in 1994 at a girls’ middle school in Busan, where students exchanged Pepero sticks, wishing each other to become as tall and slender as a Pepero. But some suspect that Pepero Day was actually dreamed up by Lotte’s marketing team.
Today, it is an unofficial holiday celebrated mostly by children and couples, like Valentine’s Day (another “holiday” some cynics say was created by a marketing team). Pepero Day became so popular that Japan had a similar day for Pocky in 1999.
Meanwhile, vendors, who are not so interested in the origin of the holiday as they are in promoting it, are beefing up on promotional events.
Pepero costs between 500 to 700 won a box, but for Pepero Day, retailers combine the choco-covered sticks with other goodies. Interpark, a large online shopping mall, has come up with special gift packages that include various flavors of Pepero and other sweets that range from 10,000 won to 30,000 won.
Minigold, a jewelry chain, is selling necklaces and earrings with Pepero-shaped charms, and the bakery Tous les Jour is featuring a chocolate-coated Pepero Baguette.
Film promoters are also using the day to attract the young customers. “Hana and Alice,” a teen film from Japan, is holding a special Pepero Day screening. The romantic comedy “Laws of Attraction” also has a Pepero Day screening and dinner event for couples.
by Wohn Dong-hee