Hello Kitty's Ever-Sweetening Empire: From Collectables to Candy
This entry was posted on December 16, 2008.
Do you remember the first time you saw a Keroppi Pencil? If you grew up in the 80s or 90s, you probably do. But what started out as a grade-school fad has been cultivated into a full-blown branded empire. Hello Kitty and her friends have inundated the lives of young (and young-at-heart) collectors everywhere.
Arguably, The World's Cutest Brand
Started in 1974 by the Japanese-based manufacturer Sanrio, Hello Kitty was the first and most popular of their cheery characters to reach the states two years later. And although the cute TV and video game tie-ins were a logical addition to the franchise, it's always been about the Hello Kitty merchandise. Hello Kitty and her friends Keroppi, Cinnamoroll, Chococat - their likenesses have been sold on everything from clothes to home appliances.
Believe it or not, the young girl audience hasn't been the only demographic swayed by the lovable cartoon animals. Newer characters like Badtz Maru (the quirky penguin, favored by boys) and Kuromi (the edgier, punky rabbit, popular with teens and young adults) has expanded Sanrio's appeal recently.
That isn't all they've accomplished. Just this year, Sanrio won their most important role yet for Hello Kitty: Japan's Ambassador of Tourism in China and Hong Kong. No, we're not kidding - her image has become such an impressive worldwide symbol, that Japan has entrusted Kitty with spreading national goodwill to potential tourists.
Hello Kitty Candy
What does all this have to do with Asian food, you ask? Hello Kitty candy, of course! Much like their American 'toon counterparts from Disney and Warner Brothers have, Sanrio didn't hesitate to enter the food market. Hello Kitty Hi-Chew, Hello Kitty Chocolate Dip Biscuits, Keroppi Kawaii Cookies, and all the sweets you could imagine can now be found bearing the embodiment of everybody's favorite Japanese cat.
Given all this growth, there's no doubt in our minds that the Hello Kitty brand will remain a sensation for years to come.