Gogo no Kōcha and Pocky: A Popular Valentine's Day Collaboration

In February 2015, Kirin Beverages' popular black tea brand Gogo no Kōcha 午後の紅茶 and Glico's globally famous chocolate stick snack Pocky collaborated on a branding and packaging concept perfect for the Valentine's Day season combining two limited-edition flavors which complemented each other, cinnamon apple tea and custard Pocky. The popularity of the project relied heavily on a clever twist in the package design in which a fairy tale prince and princess, portrayed separately on the tea bottle and the Pocky box, seemed to engage in a courtship ritual when the two were placed together, forming a single image.

The collaboration was so popular that the two brands continued the project in 2016, 2017 and 2018, each time using complimenting flavors and changing the image to portray contemporary couples, while also increasing the number of design variations each time (for example, creating more male and female characters which could be coupled).

Heisei nostalgia: Reminiscing on "those days of our youth"

As Japan collectively prepares for April 31 when the current era will draw to a close, the zeitgeist of the hour is about expressing a nascent feeling of nostalgia for all things Heisei. Therefore, it's not surprising that Kirin and Glico's collaboration this year has a retrospective mood, with a package design featuring moments of friendship and romance shared by Japanese high school students at three different points of the Heisei era: the first decade (1989-1997), the second (1998-2007) and the third (2008-2019), with a common slogan printed on each label: ano koro no seishun days あの頃の青春Days, meaning "those days of our youth".

Also tapping into the latest trend in beverages, Kirin's limited-edition Gogo no Kōcha tea flavor is "cheese milk tea redolent of mascarpone," which pairs perfectly with "bittersweet coffee and cocoa" flavored Pocky. As the package also hints, when enjoyed together, it tastes like tiramisu.

Bottle Designs

See if you can notice the school student fashion and items that marked each decade of the Heisei era.

Heisei First Decade (1989-1997)

Girls: Loose socks, brown loafer shoes, extra-long sleeves and Burberry scarves, purikura stamp folders. Girls and boys: disposable cameras, PHS handyphones and flip-phones.

Heisei Second Decade (1998-2007)

Boys: Shirt open to the third button, silver accessories (chain), leather or twine bracelets, pants pulled down below the waist. Both: Portable MD player.

Heisei Third Decade (2007-2019)

Girls: straight hair with shaggy layers, scrunchie bracelets, ice cream smartphone case. Boys: thick framed glasses, Wolverine Pocky (popularity of Marvel films). Both: Wireless MP3 player or Bluetooth wireless headphones.

Promotional video: Gogo no Kōcha and Pocky pairings

Of course, the bottle designs really come to life when they're paired with the Pocky packages, as this promotional video clearly shows:

And who knows, it could even provide an opportunity for a budding romance...

Whether you want to tap into images of youthful friendship and romance for your own Valentine's Day activities, wistfully reminisce on your own "days of youth" or just enjoy the new taste sensation of mascarpone milk tea and bittersweet coffee and cocoa-flavored Pocky, these limited-edition Gogo no Kōcha and Pocky products will be available from February 12th, 2019 in convenience stores and supermarkets throughout Japan.

For more information, see Gogo no Kōcha's special website here (in Japanese).

By - Ben K.