Australia set for major Hello Kitty campaign
sanrio ceo kunihiko tsuji and president roberto lanzi have visited melbourne to prepare for a relaunch of the hello kitty brand at target.
the brand is also re-emerging as a force in the local gift industry with plush toys and stationery items stocked in 40 independent stores across australia.
for a long time the company focused on distributing hello kitty products in japan, where it was created, but has now gone global.
“it’s a worldwide company but japan was influencing the company drastically,” says lanzi.
“i would say 90 per cent of the decisions were based on the domestic market of japan. mr tsuji is the son of the founder and he took over the worldwide business years ago and [then] we could start this strategy. now the company is much more balanced, our business approach is huge and we really worked all over the world. australia is just part of this program.”
hello kitty is expected to be just as successful locally as overseas because our fashion tastes are similar.
“all the people living in australia they love the same fashion, the same trends they love in europe and united states, so there’s no reason in the world why they should not love our properties.”
the company’s goal in australia is simply to build the brand’s share of the market; there is no talk of dollar figures.
“we are an old company – we are 50 years, our properties are old, hello kitty is 36 years so we don’t have a plan to make billions in two years. we just want to achieve our natural share of the market.
“we want to see our goods in each single category and to [reach the] target age of consumer [then money comes] automatically, it is not something we like to target. the main target is on marketing more than money,” explains lanzi.
tsuji believes hello kitty has become such an iconic character because of what it represents.
“we don’t have a secret. everybody loves hello kitty sanrio character because hello kitty doesn’t have a mouth [which means] it’s not talking – it’s attitude. also, all the sanrio characters are cute, unique, we communicate through our merchandising,” he says.
“first of all is the positive message, hello kitty has a very positive message, it’s not linked to any bad part of the lifestyle, no drugs, no alcohol, no punk, no aggression. it’s a cat, it’s a sweet cat and the young girl is very happy to wear it, the mother is very comfortable with it – there is no dream, there is no promise you have to become blonde, a princess, 1.8 metres [tall] and very rich… there is just the smile.
“the motto of the company has always been small gift, big smile and hello kitty among the many other products of sanrio represents this philosophy. it’s a positive message, [and] a simple design. hello kitty is a simple drawing that can be adapted for every product.”