Share On Social Networks
Having never taken much interest in Hello Kitty (being over 40 and not a parent of young daughters, although details like that don’t seem to stop die-hard Hello Kitty fans), I was astounded when I discovered the abundance of products available with the cheery Kitty’s face on them.
“Born” in Japan in 1974 to proud parent Sanrio, Hello Kitty is a worldwide phenomenon embraced by girls and women of all ages. She made her first appearance in the US in 1976 and has been increasingly popular ever since. There have been books written about her, art exhibits, and even a Hello Kitty crop circle in England!
It certainly doesn’t hurt Saniro’s marketing efforts that plenty of celebrities are Hello Kitty fans. Miley Cyrus, Carmen Electra, Christina Aguilera, Kimora Lee Simmons, Lisa Loeb and, surprisingly, Steven Tyler (of Aerosmith) are just a few of many celebrities who have been spotted with Hello Kitty accessories. Kimora Lee Simmons has even designed an entire line of diamond-adorned jewelry and watches for Hello Kitty.
Some of the decidedly more grown-up products include: Car seat covers, rear-view mirrors, shaver sets, vacuum cleaners, champagne glasses, solar power chargers, flash drives, phones, mp3 players, toaster ovens, waffle makers, microwaves, perfume, hair dryers, a pink laptop adorned with Kitty’s face in Swarovski crystals, a usb keyboard cleaner, the Hello Kitty Rebecca Minkoff leather bag ($600, but oh so cute!), Hello Kitty bras and thongs in various designs, the Hello Kitty Tarina Tarantino Gothic Lolita Garter (naughty Kitty!) and the Fender Hello Kitty Stratocaster guitar. I have also seen several photos online of Hello Kitty guns and rifles in various designs, but I don’t think Sanrio is promoting or selling those…
In 2004, MasterCard featured a Hello Kitty debit card “to teach young girls how to shop and use a debit card”. I don’t know about you, but I never needed help to figure out how to shop, quite the opposite! It was a cute design though: bright orange with cheery flowers and Kitty herself on the way to the mall.
Kitty, in keeping with the times, recently launched her own online role-playing game (Hello Kitty Online) where, after you customize your character, you enter the Flower Kingdom and the fun begins. In this pastel land, you can plant and harvest crops, cook, pick fruit, own a house (and customize it), and get a pet or two. There are a few monsters to be defeated as well, so it’s not all sunshine and lollipops, but once you’ve dealt with those, you can get back to socializing and selling those crops you harvested earlier.
It’s clear that Hello Kitty is not going away anytime soon; in fact she seems to be getting increasingly popular all over the world. I for one am very happy about that. I think we can all use something so very positive, happy, nice and cute as a counterbalance to all the bad news we’re faced with on a daily basis.