Sunday, June 23, 2019

Hello Kitty Cafe in Las Vegas!!

It's official. The Hello Kitty Cafe in Las Vegas is opening on July 12 at MGM's The Park Vegas, next to NYNY Las Vegas casino and Beerhaus.

Cr: Via Foodbeast, courtesy Andy Nguyen

Definitely, I have to go visit this shipping container for that Keroppi donut and Hello Kitty shaped pastry. If they didn't have these two items to perk my interest, I would have never made plans to travel to that container. I have to put those two items on Instagram! It's a ritual for this fan: spend the money, squeal and giggle like a fan, and lastly, brag to all. Seriously, that's a fun day for me.

Now, let's talk about the color on that shipping container. I had to cover my eyes for a second to that harsh neon pink color. My first thought was whhhhyyyyy? Why do they always choose this awful color for their shipping container?

And let me point this out---   is the color even more neon than the container at Irvine?! Say it isn't so. 

For the ones who share my similar dislike for neon pink, I have to break your hearts. It is much more neon than before in Irvine -- based off the picture. I'll confirm it once I see it in person. 

I have to wonder if they think the average amount of Americans like the neon pink color. Or is this a grab-for-attention marketing strategy?

When Hello Kitty Cafe opened as a shipping container, they did the same thing but with a less neon pink color. I didn't think much of it at the time, but I seriously questioned the sanity and taste of American girls these days. Then, the container was closed and Hello Kitty Grand Cafe was revealed.

Now, Irvine's brick and mortar Hello Kitty Cafe was a surprise to the fandom. We were not expecting it at all. I didn't understand Sanrio and their shipping containers. They had given all their Hello Kitty fans in America with so much hope and then, to open it's doors as a shipping container. Pure disappointment.

It has come to full circle. Note that Hello Kitty Grand Cafe's front entrance does not have any harsh neon pink color anywhere. Instead, it has an impressive design of a very pretty light pink building with gold tints to the windows and bow door handles. The store front design finishes off with a flirty purple and white awning that creates a more classy feel that we are not used to-- coming from Sanrio.

Back to present day, Hello Kitty has landed in Las Vegas. Looks like there may be a pattern here if we put Irvine's location as an example to follow. The news on the block is that this specific Cafe has permanent residency in the city. 

Like Irvine, there may be a "permanent" Cafe in the works, but I think they're all part of a trial experiment to check out the location and if it will generate any profits. There's always a gimmick for Hello Kitty Cafe when they first debut a new location.

For Irvine, it was the very first one in SoCal. It drew fans to the location because it was the first of it's kind, a character cafe that was not connected to a theme park. For San Jose, it was that silver mug. Next month, it's going to be that Keroppi donut and Hello Kitty shaped pastry in Las Vegas. Who knows what else is exclusive to the new location.

The Las Vegas location has indeed come out strong to entice fans to this shipping container. They have been stingy with character shaped food. Let's be real here. They are stingy. It's the opposite in Disneyland where you can find many character shaped themed food creations in both parks. Unlike Sanrio, at least they give what fans desire the most.

Has anyone noticed that they took away the character themed mini cakes at the front part of Hello Kitty Grand Cafe? It's now exclusive to the tea service and the traveling trucks. You only have three Hello Kitty shaped cookies. One or two normal looking cake with only a 3D bow as a topping. Those other sweets with a Hello Kitty face that is not attached to the dessert does not count as an art creation! The rest are normal and ordinary desserts. 

From past other locations opened and closed within a year, it shows that Hello Kitty Cafe does not have a strong following to bring in crowds after feedback has been known that they don't serve quality baked sweets. They get stale. They're not fresh. They are a gimmick. Most importantly, Sanrio doesn't care that it's not made with quality. All they want is our money and we, fans, give it.

See you, Collectors, in Las Vegas! Meowy for now.  >.<

Let's all try this...
We all say: Hello...
You say: Kitty.
Get it? Marco Polo game. Haha!

Can Sanrio Help Save Mattel?

If you have been following closely to Sanrio updates, then you would have heard about Barbie's Mattel obtaining a Sanrio licensing agreement.  If not, you can read it all here.

My question here is: Will Sanrio be able to bring back sales to Mattel? Will it in essence help save Mattel from going under to bankruptcy?

Without being biased, consider this -- Sanrio's popularity has slowed down quite a lot in America (excluding Los Angeles and certain parts of California) and was never a hit with most adults in other countries like Australia, the UK, Europe, the Middle East, Ireland, Austria, Germany, etc. Basically, half the world does not know who or what is Sanrio. I don't even think this generation kids know who is Hello Kitty in those countries listed.

Sure, Asia knows Hello Kitty and Sanrio. Americans recognizes the face and name of Hello Kitty, but then that's it for them. Most Americans see it as a children's toy brand because that's what Sanrio has mainly focused for years. They didn't think anything further when they started opening stores in the States.

This strategy is probably why Mattel has signed a licensing deal with Sanrio. Mattel has said that it intends to create toys and games for "all ages."  It looks like Mattel plans to capitalize on Sanrio's adult fandom. 

Has anyone in the fandom considered why Sanrio cannot create it's own stuff for both kids and adults? You have to wonder if Sanrio has really fallen on hard times as well and does not have enough capital to create their own products other than cheap stationery, small toys, clothes, and knick knacks?

Dare I ask the question that burns in most fans' minds: "Are they near bankruptcy?"

Is this why Sanrio depends on collaborations and their Hello Kitty Cafes? So far, I don't think this will generate a lot of profits at this rate. 

If you cut corners.... *cough, cough*

Maybe they are using Mattel as a new strategy to keep afloat? Will it work to save both companies? 

It may be the best move yet for Sanrio. It brings them back on the map in America. Sanrio does not have a presence in the States (other than California), but a toy giant like Mattel has a huge network all over the country. This is a good alternative since Sanrio has closed many of their franchise stores across the States. 

Maybe this is their goal to slowly work back to being popular again through a toy giant and an upcoming Hello Kitty movie to be released in a few years. If Disney can do it, then why can't Sanrio follow in their footsteps with a film?

Remember that global domination dream? Will Sanrio be able to achieve it?

As for Mattel? Sanrio products may generate some results, but I have a feeling that sales will help somewhat - short term. You have to remember that Sanrio is not like the Disney brand. Disney rules for both children and adults. Disney has always said their brand was for all ages from the very beginning. It cannot be said the same for Sanrio. There are still a lot of American adults turned off by the cutesy image or the kitsch image of Hello Kitty. They don't see what adult fans see of Sanrio's uniqueness. 

Maybe Mattel can help with that image, but time will tell.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Enthusiast vs. Collector

WARNING: This is not to offend, but to show the differences in a fandom. If you're easily offended, then you're not going to like this one. I have a lot of humor, but I'm not going to pull back my punches at what I see as truth. Laughing at yourself is the best medicine in life. Without humor, it's a really sad life. If you take this too seriously, then let it be known-- you're NOT my target audience. I write to get to the matter of the issue. There will be times that I will try for satire. Lastly, I'm opinionated. Take it or leave it. Thank you for visiting!

Enthusiast: I've been collecting Hello Kitty for over 35 years. Hello Kitty power! 
Collector: I've only started collecting 5 years ago. Here's a picture of my collection.

Enthusiast: Heads up! There's HELLO KITTY at Torrid!!
Collector: Yup, it's been there since last year.

Enthusiast: where did you get that?
Collector: about a few months ago, there was a Sanrio collection. They're all sold out.

Enthusiast: OMG! I bought this for cheap at a yard sale!
Collector: Lucky!! I had to pay full retail price for mine.

Enthusiast: I'm traveling soon. Where are the good spots in Japan for Hello Kitty?
Collector: < lists famous places and stores > (well detailed in research via web)

Enthusiast: I can't find Kitty in where I live! I refuse to pay for international shipping and seller fees!!!
Collector: I have a wide variety of collectibles in my collection because I was willing to go far for my obsession.

Enthusiast: I only like this one out of all the series.
Collector: I have to buy all to complete my sets! I have to have them!!

Enthusiast: can anyone help me buy this physically at the store? I'll pay for the item and shipping to my house.
Collector: I get my items through a personal international shopper

Enthusiast: I'm a minimalist. I don't understand why you need a collection to put in a case to just sit there. I only buy what I use.
Collector: I'm a Collector. I love my lifestyle and there are other Collectors who gets me.

Enthusiast: I don't have much Sanrio, but I have some Hello Kitty purses.
Collector: my main collection are plushes. Hundreds of them.

Enthusiast: I'm selling this figurine. Sorry, it doesn't come with the original box.
Collector: I keep everything and I do mean literally, EVERYTHING -- including the original packaging and tags!!

Enthusiast: my collection so far consists of only gifts from friends and family.
Collector: I buy stuff with my own money.

Enthusiast: a lot of my stuff are from generous penpals
Collector: I overpaid for my collection from e-bay

Enthusiast: I'm moving. It's going to be smooth and fast.
Collector: I have to prepare and get millions of boxes when I move!! It's going to take me weeks to pack. HELP!!

Enthusiast: All I want is a picture with Hello Kitty!
Collector: [With a straight face] I plan in detail of a FULL photo-op session with Kitty and friends, including live streaming.

Enthusiast: Take cover and run! There's an earthquake coming!
Collector: NOOO!!! My Sanrio Collection! I need to save it. I'm going in!!!

Enthusiast: I love only Hello Kitty.
Collector: I love SANRIO.

Enthusiast: Hello...
Collector: ... Kitty.

Enthusiast: I have some POCCHOCO stuff from my childhood days
Collector: I have tons of P-O-C-H-A-C-C-O stuff, too! We're twinsies!!

Enthusiast: [Singing] There's Mickey and Hello Kitty sitting in a tree and K-I-S --- 
Collector: NO! You just did not go there!! Dear Daniel is her boyfriend & future hubby!!!

Enthusiast: space is limited, so I only collect the small stuff like cheap stationery.
Collector: limited space is not a concern for me! Wanna visit my storage? I rotate my stuff out yearly.

Enthusiast: You do know these are cartoon characters?
Collector: I won't believe your lies! They're real. Here's my photo with Hello Kitty. See!