November 11th is Pepero Day in South Korea, and falls on the same day as China’s Singles’ Day. China’s Singles’ Day is for singles, but Pepero Day in South Korea is for everyone. On this day, people tend to show their affection or best wishes for family members, friends, and loved ones by exchanging the chocolate-coated wand-like pretzel snack called Pepero.
Pepero was first manufactured by Lotte Confectionery in South Korea in the year 1983, and the first flavor was chocolate. There are 7 flavors being sold now namely: Chocolate, Strawberry, Almond,, Nude, White Chocolate Cookie, and Tiramisu Cheese. Since November 2011, the back of the boxes have a postcard image where one can leave a message.
Initially, Lotte Confectionery’s marketing strategy was to make it thin, so that one can eat it with hopes of becoming taller and thinner. Pepero Day apparently began in 1994 when middle-school girls in Busan felt that Pepero sticks resemble the number ‘1,’ and started exchanging them on November 11th at 11:11:11AM. This went viral subsequently, and Lotte Confectionery decided to adopt this as part of their promotions.
Pepero Day also brings lots of sales opportunities, as they are sold practically everywhere and comes in all kinds of packaging. Popular celebrities would be roped in to model Pepero, while limited edition Pepero are also launched. Thus, it’s not strange to learn that about 50% of Pepero’s annual sales come between September and November.