Hello Kitty Hotzone
Tracking Hello Kitty’s unique ways around the World

Hello Kitty Tourism Ambassador for Japan

June 16th, 2008 by hotzone:hellokitty.com

Japan’s tourism ministry named Hello Kitty as its choice to represent the country in China and Hong Kong, two places where the famous feline is most adored.

Via Sanriotown.

She’s been rocking out for more than 30 years, so it’s nice to see Hello Kitty get her props. Yes, I am a fan. No, I’m not ashamed. Click the pic for the AP story that ran in The Star, and here’s a story I wrote on HK back in the day.

The cat’s clout comes from her cuteness.

Her name is Kitty. Hello Kitty, if you’re cute. And she’s a girl with no gimmicks.

Her status as an international pop icon didn’t come the usual way. No rump-shaking. No sexy attire - or lack of.

She has been featured in everything from USA Today to BusinessWeek. Her friends include everyone from designer Paul Frank to pop diva Janet Jackson.

Kitty is the face of Sanrio, a children’s products corporation based in Tokyo. And thanks to Kitty, Sanrio has become a billion-dollar global enterprise.

Hello Kitty’s face graces everything from backpacks to keychains to contact lens cases. In addition to Hello Kitty, there are Pink Lili, Chococat and an array of cute and cuddly characters.

Sanrio’s target customers are children, but 1970s and ’80s babies are a large part of the consumer base. Perhaps it’s because Kitty has been around just that long.

Friday marks her 28th birthday, and this has been a stellar year for the trendsetting cat. In addition to nabbing partnerships with Niki Roxx footwear and the innovative fashion designers Heatherette, Kitty images are all over songstress Lisa Loeb’s latest CD, "Hello Lisa," released earlier this month.

"I have always loved Hello Kitty," said Loeb, who has been a fan since 1976. "Having her on my cover is special for me, and I think it will have a special connection for the people who love her."

Kitty brings fun to what would normally be mundane and boring, Loeb said.

"When I see her on my key chain or my watch or my toaster or my coffee maker, it makes me smile," Loeb said.

For some people, Kitty is an expression of their personality, Loeb said.

"And what she is for me is fun and cute but thoughtful and serious," Loeb said. "She’s cute but not cutesy."

From the 5-year-old to the 45-year-old, famous and non-famous alike, Kitty is everyone’s It Girl, from Japan and America to France and Venezuela. She appears on everything from purses and pens to clothing and housewares to jewelry and snowboards. She even has her own theme park, Sanrio Puroland, in Tokyo.

So how did the phenomenal feline become so famous?

Word of mouth, said Bill Hensley, marketing director of Sanrio’s U.S. subsidiary.

"That’s part of the beauty of the Hello Kitty longevity, there’s no forced ‘you gotta have it’ from us," Hensley said.

Instead of pouring money into high-powered ad campaigns, Sanrio puts its dollars into product development. Monthly, Sanrio puts out a wide range of products in limited quantities to promote collectibility and individuality.

Although Kitty’s buzz comes from word of mouth, many think her popularity comes from her lack of a mouth. Kitty was left without one so she could speak from the heart.

"By her not having a mouth, we can project our own feelings on her, and she can be whatever we want her to be," said Alyssa Schrader, 27, a Kansas City Hallmark designer who has been collecting Kitty for five years.

Kitty has Barbie appeal in the way she changes her style so often.

"Customers always check in to see if there’s a new Kitty," said John Middelkamp, owner of Bloom, a boutique full of toys and accessories (and the largest Kitty selection in town) aimed at young girls.

Bloom has been carrying Hello Kitty for 10 years, Middelkamp says, with Kitty buyers accounting for 25 percent of Bloom’s patrons. It’s the store’s most important line.

"She is such an obviously cute and endearing character, and people can relate to her," Middelkamp said.

For 12-year-old actress and cat lover Mackenzie Rosman, Kitty is too cute to resist.

"She’s a little kitty who gets to do all of these cool things," said Rosman, who plays Ruthie Camden on "7th Heaven."

Although Rosman has been on the Kitty craze for only a couple of months, she said it is something she can see herself collecting for a long time.

And as girly as Kitty wants to be, she has made pink a power color.

Kitty has brightened up the black-and-white corporate image. Successful businesswomen allow Hello Kitty electric organizers, notebooks, pens and cell phone face plates to complement their Gucci and Kate Spade bags.

Kitty’s popularity with corporate women is a "wink on pink," Faith Popcorn, founder of Faith Popcorn’s BrainReserve, a marketing consultancy, told Fortune Small Business magazine.

"It’s like saying women can’t be contained. We can wear monochromatic Armani suits and whip out Hello Kitty notepads at a moment’s notice."

In essence, Kitty represents girl power. From a first-grader’s lunchbox to a glamorous beaded handbag, Kitty is the cat’s meow.

Hello Kitty Online - the next step to join the exclusive closed Beta

February 26th, 2008 by hotzone:hellokitty.com

Fans and beta applicants have been uploading Dream Studio user generated creations to demonstrate why they should be allowed into the closed beta!

I am going to be making my own one now too, but the competition is going to be tough, here are some I really like, good job girls (or guys?).

These are all so great! WOW!

Hello Kitty Online goes Beta

February 22nd, 2008 by hotzone:hellokitty.com

Add Hello Kitty and the cast of Sanrio characters to the virtual world and massively multiplayer online role-playing (MMORPG) game phenomenon.

Sanrio Digital and Typhoon Games announced the birth of Hello Kitty Online this week, which since Wednesday has attracted 30,000 people interested in testing the site.

As in other virtual worlds, users create avatars and can go about the cartoon world slaying monsters — though we always thought Hello Kitty was such a nice, peaceful character, albeit with no mouth — as well as building a home, raising pets and tending a farm.

Besides Hello Kitty, the world also features My Melody, Badtz-Maru, Keroppi, Pochacco and others.

Hello Kitty Toilet

February 14th, 2008 by hotzone:hellokitty.com

Who knew that Hello Kitty was also branded with toilets? The bathroom set  is ok, but a toilet? hmmmmmm I guess it still looks really cute.

Hello Kitty Mobile Phone bundle in Hong Kong

December 19th, 2007 by hotzone:hellokitty.com

Hello Kitty Mobile Phones

Looks like a promotion with Hello Kitty and Sony Ericcson, cute little character designs but the phones seem pretty standard, just decorated with Kitty. Took this photo in a store in Hong Kong.

Hello Kitty Golden Skull Design

November 24th, 2007 by hotzone:hellokitty.com

Hello Kitty Skull, originally uploaded by hellokittysanrio.

Hello Kitty in a stylish golden and pink skull design, iconic and fashionable, saw it in a store in shibuya

Happy Birthday to Hello Kitty

November 1st, 2007 by hotzone:hellokitty.com

Hello Kitty Birthday

Happy Birthday Hello Kitty, you are approaching your mid-30’s but looking as Hot as ever! Well done, you are almost there for total world domination!

Happy Birthday!

Hello Kitty Digital Camera - a very special edition

October 27th, 2007 by hotzone:hellokitty.com

A new 5Mpix digital camera using the shape of the head of Hello Kitty for its body will be available in stores shortly. The Shutter of this camera will be located on the left ear of Hello Kitty, and the lens in the bow tie. Our camera will have a 2" LCD, will support SD Cards, will have 32MB of internal memory, and a 4x digital Zoom. What is unusual about this one is that it intelligently incorporates the shape and size of Hello Kitty into a Camera, as supposed to just using the design on an existing Camera design, collectors edition anyone?

New Hello Kitty Phone

October 18th, 2007 by hotzone:hellokitty.com

Sure, Beyonce can have her "B’Phone," but she’s got a lot of catching up to do where the "K" is concerned. As the Sanrio empire continues its quest for world domination, the evil Hello Kitty has been dispatched to Taiwan for a special-edition Okwap C150T phone, according to Akihabara News.

The mobile handset, only the latest of HK’s cellular conquests, has a 2-megapixel camera and plays MP3s and video. Perhaps its most unusual feature is a particularly ornate design on the back of the phone that resembles a tombstone. No such luck, however.

Vintage Hello Kitty

October 13th, 2007 by hotzone:hellokitty.com

A 1976 Totebag version of Hello Kitty and her best friend.

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