If you don’t know about Japan’s giri choco tradition, it’s worth looking it up.
In a surprising move on February 1, Godiva took a full page add in a leading Japanese newspaper and told women they should stop feeling obligated to offer chocolate to their male coworkers on Valentine’s Day.
This could very well be a marketing ploy on the part of Godiva. After all, no one buys Godiva chocolates for giri choco — they are simply too expensive. But let’s leave our cynicism at the door for a minute. Ever since the Weinstein scandal, we have seen a shift. People all over the world are speaking up loudly against gender-based practices that are imposed by one gender over the other (usually male over female). There is a real sense that we’ve had enough, that sexual discrimination and harassment can no longer be tolerated.
So perhaps Godiva is trying to boost sales by hacking the culture, joining the ranks of several companies with similar messages embedded in their recent Super Bowl ads. If that’s the case, we can still rejoice. These marketing giants really do their homework before spending their billions and, to me, these ads suggest that the cultural shift we are seeing is real and here to stay.
And that is sweet!