The fashion icone is cherished by every Chinese young woman
Hello Kitty is a global phenomenon that has been created by the Japanese stylist Yuko Shimiru in 1974. For a long time it was under the direction of the Japanese firm Sanrio before being bought by the American firm SEGA. If this pink little cat was supposed to melt little girl’s heart, it has also win teenagers and young Chinese woman. Today, the brand has a huge range of product and services, going from toys, amusement park, sponsoring hospital, furniture, wallet, etc.
Hello Kitty is truly a brilliant marketing product. If the logo is added anywhere, it will create a value to the product and catch the attention of woman. If the concept is more bought in Asia, it is also known and liked in Western countries. Drawn without a mouth, Sanrio explains she does not need it because she “speaks from the heart. She’s Sanrio’s ambassador to the world and isn’t bound to any particular language”. She still has been partly made in English because by the time, English association were particularly popular.
Hello Kitty in number :
- 50 000 different products
- Present in more than 60 countries
- Turn over of 1 billion euros per year
- TV show of 16 episode in 1993
Thanks to its success, the little half-Japanese, half-English has been choosen by the Japanese board of tourism as their official tourism ambassador to China and Hong Kong. Furthermore it is not the first time Hello Kitty performed as an ambassador. In 1983, it became the United States children’s ambassador for Unicef since 1983.
Dr Sharon Kinsella, a lecturer at Oxford University on Japanese sociology, says that “it seems predictable enough to have her adopted as a diplomatic envoy. That has been the way of the ‘Cool Japan’ bandwagon for a few years now, and relations with China are no healthier. It seems a bit farcical to select Hello Kitty, however: as if a dumbed-down cultural icon that was cool in her retro boom in the 1990s, and which Chinese teenagers dig, can somehow do something significant to alter the gnarly and difficult state of China-Japan relations”.
Hello Kitty symbolic explained
“Hello Kitty stands for the innocence and sincerity of childhood and the simplicity of the world” says Helen McCarthy, an author and expert on Japanese animation and comics. “Women and girls all over the world are happy to buy in to the image of the trusting, loving childhood in a safe neighbourhood that Hello Kitty represents. They don’t want to let go of that image, so as they grow up, they hang onto Hello Kitty out of nostalgic longing – as if by keeping a symbolic object, they can somehow keep hold of a fragment of their childhood self”.
Such as international brand such as Coca-Cola and Nike, Hello Kitty became a brand phenomenon. and it is no longer regarded as being for children only but also to pre-teen girls as well as for young woman, at least in China. It is far from just being a brand, it is a whole world. You can buy almost anything stamped with the Hello Kitty logo, from stuffed animals to clothes or mugs.
Thanks to your Hello Kitty credit card, supplied by Bank of America, you can purchase towels, pencil, clothing (adult-sized underwear included !), phone cover, laptops, plane ticket, trip to amusement park (1.5 million visitor per year !)… all from the Hello Kitty world. You can even send the bill to your own @hellokitty.com email address.
As you understand it, Hello Kitty has charmed the world thanks to her unique style and her mixed English-Japanese heritage that gave her the charm and the cuteness that everyone adores. If it was originally good for selling merchandise to schoolgirls, it has now every key to target any kind of people.
With 200 new objects launch in the world every month objects, the brand has chosen to diversify its product to increase sales. To do so, Hello Kitty has made a lot of partnership. For example with Eva Air for the Hello Kitty plane, with the Taiwanese hospital to target young mothers and their new born, café and restaurant (in Sanlitun, Beijing) to reach young consumers…
Their viral marketing has worked like never before in any other brands. Why ? Because they didn’t built a customer base but they created real fans that will give everything to share moments with their icone (the brand has more than 200 000 fans on their Weibo).