A good number of brands looking to market in Asia have all done it – stamp Hello Kitty on their products or promotions.
So this piece of breaking news is for you: Don’t let the whiskers fool you – Hello Kitty is not a cat.
Yup, you read it right. Japanese company Sanrio has come out to stamp out the belief that the beloved Hello Kitty is indeed not a cat but rather a British girl who loves apple pie and has a twin sister.
The 40 year old cultural icon which has taken over the world has been misunderstood all along. (Time to know what you’re marketing guys!)
In an interview with LATimes, Christine R. Yano an anthropologist from the University of Hawaii (Hawaii not Kawaii) said that the character’s unreadable features and clever merchandising aided in cultivating her character. Yano added that the success is also attributed to the blankness of her design which allows for a range of expressions. Yano, when speaking to Sanrio, was “corrected very firmly” by the company that Hello Kitty is not a cat.
“She’s a cartoon character. She is a little girl. She is a friend. But she is not a cat. She’s never depicted on all fours. She walks and sits like a two-legged creature. She does have a pet cat of her own, however, and it’s called Charmmy Kitty.”
In an earlier article by Marketing, experts said that Hello Kitty brings strong brand strength to any brand banking on using the icon for promotional purposes. Today, from TV shows to merchandise, the Hello Kitty brand consciousness is fast becoming multi-layered and awareness is at an all time high.
Nonetheless, the Hello Kitty brand presence is especially strong in Asia and amongst Singaporeans. Lawrence Chong, CEO of Consulus added that because consumers increasingly need to be seen as “part of a global narrative by posting a picture of the latest Hello Kitty conquest on social media”, Hello Kitty is a must have sign of our times.