Saatchi & Saatchi Fallon Tokyo created “Wink & Smile” for Godiva, using facial recognition tech

Ads, Creativity

Before the clicking and tapping of social media messaging, perhaps the oldest and most personal way people communicated was through the expression on one’s face while standing in front of another. This is true the world over, yet people in some cultures communicate in much more subtle ways than others.

In Japan, it is uncommon to see people expressing overt displays of affection in public places. So often, shyness prevents the exposure of true feelings, even in terms of facial expression. Despite what the heart desires to say, Japanese people tend to maintain a “Poker Face”.Wink&Smile_Event_Godiva

In partnership with Saatchi & Saatchi Fallon, Godiva Japan is out to change that – at least for Valentine’s Day.

In 2013, Godiva encouraged people to express their love for each other by hugging a specially constructed mannequin that measured the qualities of a person’s hug and enabled people to share it online.

This year, through the use of facial recognition technology, a wink and a smile received through an interface, creates a custom digital message that can be sent to a loved one. The act of winking and smiling moves a digital cursor and allows people to select words to create their message of love. In addition, photos of the individual winking and smiling in various combinations to navigate the program will be turned into a series of unique and charming animated GIFs to accompany the text that’s created.


The Wink & Smile Booth will appear at several locations throughout Tokyo leading up to Valentine’s Day. All the messages and accompanying animated clips will be uploaded onto the Godiva Wink & Smile campaign website and can be easily shared on social media. This campaign reflects the emotional brand values of Godiva; creating a fun and truly unique way for typically shy Japanese to express their feelings for one another this Valentine’s Day.


SSF Tokyo is part of the Saatchi & Saatchi Fallon (SSF) Group within the Publicis Groupe Holdings Network. A unique partnership of two of the most acclaimed creative agencies in the industry enabling both networks to maximize the potential of their creative & strategic resources at a global and local level. SSF Tokyo combines local creativity with global resources in a uniquely entrepreneurial Tokyo-based advertising agency