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Celebrating Pocky Day: How the Chocolate Snack Is Making Sharing Bigger, Happier

As Pocky celebrates its 50th anniversary, the Japanese-based snack brand is looking to “share happiness” in a bigger way in the U.S.
The Pocky truck has been visiting cities throughout the year giving away free boxes of Pocky
The Pocky truck has been visiting cities throughout the year giving away free boxes of Pocky.Courtesy of Ezaki Glico USA

If there were ever a year the country needed to share happiness, 2016 would be it — and at Ezaki Glico USA’s offices, the Japanese-based food company is preparing to meet those needs.

For the third year in the U.S., and 17th year in Japan, Ezaki Glico is celebrating Pocky Day on Nov. 11, an ode to the company’s most popular chocolate and biscuit snack. This year, Ezaki Glico USA has expanded the annual “holiday” to begin Nov. 9 under the campaign The Big Share, which will aim to distribute 1,111 boxes of Pocky by Nov. 13.

“In the beginning in Japan, we started [Pocky Day] to express our sincerest thanks to the Pocky fans and customers,” Akitoshi Oku, president of Ezaki Glico USA, told NBC News. “You’ve got this [stick-type] shape that is so unique among chocolate products. It’s easy to eat anywhere, anytime … and also, of course it’s so delicious, and a good balance between biscuit and chocolate, so everybody loves it.”

And the proof of that statement is well-documented: Pocky currently holds the Guinness World Record for the “most mentions of a brand name on Twitter in 24 hours,” with nearly 4 million tweets on Nov. 11, 2013.

Oku, who has served as Ezaki Glico USA’s president since April of this year, added that The Big Share will help Pocky fans “feel they are a part of a family.”

Individuals are encouraged to go online and fill out a form to send a “Share Happiness” message with someone int he U.S. for free. Once that’s completed, the person will receive a box of Pocky from someone else who’s shared a message.

The hope, according to Ezaki Glico USA marketing assistant Marie Pumilia, is to bring people together around one common love.

“It’s not that we’re just giving away Pocky boxes,” Pumilia told NBC News. “It’s one Pocky fan sharing it with another, so there’s that component of interactiveness and bringing people together. It makes you feel good.”

The Big Share is not Pocky’s first major campaign for Ezaki Glico USA. In 2013, the company launched the Pocky Share Happiness Tour, which brought the Pocky truck to multiple cities to distribute free Pocky boxes in celebration of Pocky’s 50th anniversary. (The snack was first manufactured and sold in 1966 in Japan, and then exported to the U.S. beginning in the '80s, although Ezaki Glico USA was not established until 2003.)

"Sharing happiness around the globe has been an amazing journey for us," Oku said in a press release in May during the tour announcement. “Pocky is sharing happiness everywhere, and that makes us happy."

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Correction: An earlier version of this article stated the Pocky Share Happiness Tour began in the summer of 2016. It began in 2013.