INTERNATIONAL. 20 March is International Day of Happiness and confectionery powerhouse Mars Wrigley Confectionery is celebrating by highlighting the role travel plays in making people happy. It is also marking the occasion with a colourful partnership with The Moodie Davitt Report, led by a makeover of our home page.

This year’s International Day of Happiness theme is Happier Together, focusing on the importance of relationships, kindness and helping each other.

Mars Wrigley is highlighting the role of travel in generating happiness. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The day chimes with a shift in attitudes around the world, say organisers, with people now recognising that ‘progress’ should be about increasing human happiness and wellbeing, not just growing the economy.

Since 2013, 20 March has been established as the annual International Day of Happiness and all 193 United Nations member states have adopted a resolution calling for happiness to be given greater priority.

Living in the moment and celebrating life with loved ones are some of the strongest motivations underpinning happiness, said Mars Wrigley, after a social listening study* covering over six million public conversations across the world.

It also discovered that travel can play a major role in making people feel happy.

International Day of Happiness was conceptualised and founded by philanthropist, activist, statesman and prominent United Nations special advisor Jayme Illien.

He aimed to inspire, mobilise, and advance a global happiness movement. He took his proposal to the United Nations and, with the endorsement of then Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, the first official International Day of Happiness was celebrated on 20 March 2013.

Illien chose that date for its significance as the March equinox, a universal phenomenon, which occurs when the plane of the Earth’s equator passes through the centre of the Sun’s disk.

Mars Wrigley: “When purchasing confectionery, consumers generally shop either to recharge or reward themselves, to connect with others, or to celebrate something with a gift.”

Mars Wrigley said that “our world is a better place when it’s full of smiles”, noting elements that make people smile:

  • Living in the moment – being thankful about life by enjoying every moment.
  • Celebrating life – expressing love towards life and spending it with loved ones.
  • Positive influencers – being positively influenced by others’ success stories.
  • Motivational thoughts – sharing life philosophies with the people around us.
  • Pleasurable experiences – engaging in activities of interest with loved ones.

According to Mars Wrigley, travel, whether for business or pleasure, has an important role to play in all of these findings.

The company said: “Travel brings people together for celebration, for business and for new experiences; travel can be motivational, inspirational, exciting and stimulating and it widens our horizons, opens our eyes to other cultures, reminds of what we have, and gives us ambition to achieve more.”

On the link between enjoyment of life and the confectionery category, Mars Wrigley noted: “When purchasing confectionery, consumers generally shop either to recharge or reward themselves, to connect with others, or to celebrate something with a gift.

“In global travel retail, purchasing is primarily ‘connect’, with ‘celebrate’ coming a close second. And these two motivations are all about connecting and making people smile.

“Returning to the social listening study, it’s clear that connection (between people) and celebration (of seasons, events, important occasions) are key reasons for bringing us happiness and making us smile. We need these moments in our lives – all of us – and confectionery can be the perfect choice to meet and fulfil these necessary human requirements – especially when we are travelling.”

Hailing the role of confectionery travel retail, Mars Wrigley said: “With its mass market appeal, value for money pricing, and often exclusive formats, confectionery brings smiles to everyone – whether as a gift for a loved one, to share during a trip, a destination memento, or as a self-treat. Whatever the purchasing need, chocolate confectionery can fulfil it.”

The Day of Happiness encourages visitors to join its community, to discover new action ideas via a special app and monthly calendars and to read the World Happiness Report.

The campaign is on social media with a #InternationalDayofHappiness hashtag.

The company highlighted the importance of employees on the shop floor in guiding consumer choice for particular moments.

“Most importantly, today – and every day – shop floor staff act as ambassadors, not just for confectionery but for travel retail as a whole.

“A happy, smiling face will always help to reassure, inspire, enthuse and relax consumers, whatever their age, race or reason for travel. What better day to remind staff of that, than today!”

Mars Wrigley underlined the importance of happiness in the workplace.

“Today is a good day to take a step back from the day to day business that is travel retail and perhaps consider how happy your workplace is. We spend a great deal of our time at work, so it’s important that – as employers – we prioritise a happy work environment; it’s not only good for the workforce, its good for the bottom line. According to, unhappy employees cost employers US$300 billion each year in lost productivity.

Mars Wrigley: A happy workplace makes for engaged, positive employees.

“Happy, engaged employees who love their roles will be more loyal, less stressed and be a positive voice for the company. It’s a proven fact that happy employees will perform better, be healthier (less sick days), create improved morale and improved mind-set, improve intra-employee support and relationships – all leading to happier and better functioning work places.”

*Fractal analytics social listening analysis findings – 2018’. This research was carried out by Mars Wrigley with Fractal and was a social listening study – an analysis of social media conversations about smiles and happiness in Australia, the UK, the US and Singapore.