Unlike American men, who obviously adore the gifting and expensive dinners associated with Valentine’s Day, only 2% of men in Denmark claim to enjoy the holiday. This wasn’t good news for Danish chocolatier Anthon Berg, so to boost men’s loving–er spending–urge, the brand and agency Robert/Boisen & Like-Minded enlisted the help of science. They turned to neuroscientist Paul Zak, founding Director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies and Professor of Economics, Psychology and Management at Claremont Graduate University. Also known as Dr. Love, Zak has extensively studied the link between the brain chemical oxytocin, happiness, trust and romantic love.
For Anthon Berg’s campaign “The Valentine Experiment,” Zak tested oxytocin levels in the blood of Danish men. He then asked men to write down their feelings about their romantic partners. Finally, he had men share these thoughts (and a box of Anthon Berg chocolate) with the women face to face. When Zak tested the men’s blood a second time, their oxytocin levels increased an average of 27.5%–5% more than brides’ oxytocin levels have been shown to rise after giving their wedding vows.
“So if you don’t like Valentine’s Day,” says Dr. Zak, “the blood proves that it makes you happier.” Though he adds, that “if you still don’t like it, you can always express your love on any other day of the week.” (Like on days when chocolate companies aren’t begging you to spend money to prove how you feel.) But the point, as the ad rightfully says, is that “you can never be too generous,” especially with your feelings.