Hello Kitty makes a comeback

That heading was to get your attention – ‘comeback’ ? – she hasn’t gone away, in fact she’s more popular than ever. I felt like revisiting this posting from another blog I wrote a few years ago.

Please enjoy a re-read and discover my curiosity about this damn cat.

 

 

Miss itty bitty Kitty rules the rooms!

I don’t get Hello Kitty. I do get Hello Kitty. I get the merchandising, the appeal to pre-adolescent females and the cutesy factor that seems to adorn all young Asian girls and indeed little girls all over the shopping world. I get that it’s a character of fiction – I don’t get the look (Kitty is portrayed as a female white Japanese bobtail cat with a red bow), I don’t get why Kitty doesn’t have a mouth.

Researching the erstwhile feline, I found out she was created by Yuko Shimizu in 1974, and first appeared on a vinyl coin purse, introduced to the Japanese public and then Kitty went on to conquer the US in 1976.

The Hello Kitty character is a staple of the kawaii segment of Japanese popular culture. She is a Sanrio character (there are many Kitty family members – now I’m creeping myself out as I’d like to meet them), and Sanrio has groomed Hello Kitty into a global, marketing phenomenon worth $5 billion a year.

(In 1962, Shintaro Tsuji, founder of Sanrio, sold rubber sandals with flowers painted on them. He noted profits soared with the addition of cute designs on sandals and hired cartoonists to design cuties for his merchandise. )

Anyway, chubby kitty cat is all over the world now – and every little girl knows her. And surprisingly (not) many adults have embraced her too . . . I don’t get it. But I’m starting to . . .

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The target market for Hello Kitty broadened to include teens and grown-ups as a retro brand – for those who could not own her when they were young. In 1999, 12,000 different products had Kitty appearing on them worldwide.  And now it gets silly – in 2009, the Bank of America began offering Hello Kitty-themed cheque accounts, where the account holder can get cheques and a Visa debit card with Kitty’s mouthless face on it – MasterCard debit cards have featured Kitty as a design since 2004.

(Thanks to Wikipedia for some of this info – hope it’s correct.)

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And now to the Grand Hai-Lai hotel in Kaohsiung, Taiwan where I stayed a few years back. A wonderful hotel with elegant rooms and friendly staff AND a Hello Kitty Suite. It features a living room, dining room and a master bedroom, and it offers 50sq.m of space.

In the delightfully pink suite, decorated with sweet Hello Kitty miniature vases and paintings, residents will find a Hello Kitty mini-studio and a complete Hello Kitty tea set. The large bathroom has a jumbo sanded Kitty mirror – take your time and enjoy a Kitty bubble bath!
Grand Hai-Lai and Sanrio Corporation of Japan present the “Hai-Lai Kitty House” situated in the hotel lobby, where Hello Kitty limited editions and gifts are exclusively sold. Enjoy shopping in pink-decorated romance! All Hello Kitty amenities provided in the rooms are available in store.

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The Hello Kitty breakfast features a Kitty face stamped in the toast and a Kitty moulded sweet. There’s even a Hello Kitty face drizzled in tomato sauce on the fried egg.

Themed wedding are held here and there’s a Hello Kitty carriage and for the runaway bride there’s a Hello Kitty bicycle. (Fact: famous blogger theglobalgoddess.com was seen scooting around the parking lot on one of these bikes.)

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It was a Hello Kitty overload looking at the HK scene but one can’t be cynical or churlish while the young woman showing us with giggles and glee all the hotel has to show of Kitty – they softened all the kitsch blows and were delighted with my Hello Kitty slipper purchase – I would go so far to say they were impressed with me – and I got a discount.

www.grandhilai.com.tw/english/room_04.htm

Writer, Bev Malzard has unintentionally gained a reputation for being a Hello Kitty fan, and friends and relatives send her Hello Kitty paraphernalia for her collection (which doesn’t exist). And she gets a kick out of it! So far she has bright pink HK toothpaste; HK pens and notebooks; a HK PEZ dispenser (remember PEZ); a HK mug and the classic is a pair of pillowcases of HK patterned material that her sister made for her. 

Bev Malzard is still bewildered by all things Hello Kitty but has dyed parts of her hair pink to stay in the game,

 

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