Wednesday, July 17, 2019

What Are Gimmicks?

Gimmicks are well formed tricks in persuading a consumer to part ways with their money. A lot of branding concepts out there are usually in gel, liquid, or powder form. Often times, they do not match with collaborations with character brands, unless it's customized to character shaped containers or physical shaped forms. 

For a good example, the Creme Shop sheet masks have actual Hello Kitty prints on them, but I don't know how you can justify it when you have to throw it away after one use. Same with below.

Cinna Lip Balm

The products above is part of the beauty line, but more so on the accessories side than the actual beauty product (the liquid lip gloss and gel balm), which is hard to justify the kawaii gimmick of just covering it with art. A simple placing of a sticker can easily do the trick. 

The only viable character branding exception is Proactiv's cleansing brush. It is true to something that is unique where you have the item as a character shaped brush. This is what physical character branding is all about and not about decorating it with only a superficial sticker. This is where your money is well spent and justified.

Bath bomb. The plastic packaging is the only art provided.

I would hope most people in general are more smart with their money. Above are gimmicks that does not have any physical sense of connection to the character. 

Take for instance the fake eyelashes. Seriously?

I could never buy and justify spending my hard earned money for just the Hello Kitty paper that comes with the eyelashes. It just baffles my mind. 

From most feedback that I have heard about these wines or champagnes are that they are very pretty as decor, but they do not taste good. It's why I don't own one. I don't see the justification of buying a bottle. If the art is printed on the bottle, then that's different and I would justify buying it. 

Although, I have to say-- they are very pretty to look upon.

Lastly, I have come to my final example of a gimmick. There was a sweet dessert collaboration with Yogurtland. The product is the liquid form of yogurt ice cream. There's no way to shape it in the form of a character. So, what was provided was character shaped plastic spoons and paper cups. Mind you, decorated printed paper cups. 

These paper cups do age and are completely useless after years stored away. It's not something you can keep long term and in good physical form. As for the plastic spoons, it's not worthy enough to justify this collaboration.

The Yogurtland collaboration was just a simple form of a gimmick marketing. Their goal was to draw fans to their franchise stores. If you always went there, then I would see no changes to your regular routine. If you didn't go there often, was it for the bragging? 

Gimmicks are there, but most times if you're smart with your money-- you will think twice about it. I do on many, many occasions because I use my money on actual Sanrio products to decorate my home or to cross things off my wishlist. It's why I have a variety of collectibles in my collection rather than all plushes or of the same type of product.

Are you smart with your money?

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Konnichiwa Summer Block Party

Yesterday, I went to a Hello Kitty Hollywood store event and came home with some exclusive goodies. 

I was the first one there on a Friday event. I probably got too excited and came on the dot at noon of the event. I began my browsing of the boutique to make sure that I didn't miss anything that would catch my eye and interest. 

Before I completed my purchases, I went straight for the caricature artist and was literally the first person to be drawn for that day. It was my first time getting a cartoon drawing of myself and could not wait to see the results. 

It was instant love when I saw my caricature. I really love the idea of wearing Hello Kitty sunglasses in this drawing of my caricature portrait. It just re-affirms that I'm wearing something to represent my kitty love. The artist adding a touch of Hello Kitties in the shades makes this a treasure piece. 

I will cherish this caricature forever. 

Unfortunately, when I visited the boutique, there wasn't any new special exclusive fashion clothes. Maybe next year? 


Instead what I found were exclusive boutique postcards. A total of 15-20 cards with different designs. I bought 14 of these kawaii cards and threw in some doubles. You know I couldn't walk away without grabbing some double copies for my secret stash.  >.<

My extraordinary day was complete. I visted. I shopped. I adored. And, I was on cloud nine. I'm looking forward to more of these type of events with the balloon and caricature activities.

Until then, stay kittified!

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Retro 80s

These days, Sanrio has been gradually re-releasing retro versions of their older merchandise to every Collector's delight. We are hoping more versions are on it's way because this gives a chance for new Collectors to actually own something like these below. 

Above are very small cases of the real thing. I am hoping they will release the vintage pencil cases that came with multiple hidden storages with just the click of a button. It was a favorite of mine because it came with a ruler, eraser, and tape -- all in one case. The cases could open on both sides, where you can store many pens and mechanical pencils. 

It was my go-to organizer for my writing tools. I feel like a nerd because these were important to me. Unfortunately, the vintages pens and cases are not sold anymore in Sanrio stores. The quality in the past was much better than as of late. 

These next collectibles are the retro drawer cases that a lot of Collectors will treasure over the years. I love that the fact that I own one of these babies from the 80s collection. And, in MINT condition too! You can only find the vintage versions on e-Bay for an expensive price. This is more worth it because I can save myself a hundred dollars and the item is not used. Jackpot!

Which one is your favorite?

2016 Sanrio Robot Figurines

Once I had the 2013 white Hello Kitty Robot K set in my collection, I had to complete my robot fascination with this next set of series released in 2016.

What I liked about this set was that it features my three favorite Sanrio characters: Hello Kitty, Keroppi, and My Melody. Unfortunately, there is no other Sanrio characters other than Kuromi, Monkichi, and Badtz-Maru as seen above. 

All the characters except Hello Kitty is wearing a futuristic type of robot outfit. It reminds of a space suit instead. Hello Kitty stands out from the rest as the virtual robot leader.

Hopefully, one day-- we can get more of a focused robot gear set of six figurines for characters like Pochacco, Pompompurin, Pippo, etc.   


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 than what we are 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!

Friday, May 10, 2019

That Pink Hello Kitty Chair

Yes, you heard me right! There's a P-I-N-K office chair by Lean Back out being sold in the Korean market. Not everyone likes a pink chair, but I'm not exactly normal or predictable.

I love pink, but I get rather picky with the details. If it goes hot pink, I'm like definitely not. A hint of hot pink with light pink as the main color -- you got my interest, so let's see the rest. You get my drift. 

Now, back to the topic of the PINK Hello Kitty chair. I was going to purchase one today, but my plans got ruined. On the Korean page to buy the chair, it reads that it won't ship to the United States and to please select another country. 

My jaw dropped! I was crushed!

No... seriously. Not cool to do that to me. I had waited a week and a half to purchase this pinkalicious Hello Kitty chair to find that it is not possible. It says to USA: Unpredictable. In red font colors. RED.

I'm like why can't they ship this office chair when I was able to get Fed-Ex to ship my oversized Hello Kitty sofa?? And, that cost me an arm and leg.

After thinking about this for awhile and spending my chair money on another Hello Kitty substitute purchase, I think this is a sign.

Yes. It is a sign. (please go with me here... this is me rationalizing here)

Maybe someone up there is telling me that I don't need this particular PINK Hello Kitty chair. It's cute, but I can wait for a better Hello Kitty office chair that can be a character shaped chair. Yes, that's right. I should wait for another PINK chair to come along to tempt me. 


<Clicking the link again to see the words, UNPREDICTABLE in bright red colors>

You don't suppose it will change to yes in another few weeks for United States? No?

Thursday, May 9, 2019

R.I.P. - Top 10 Best Designed Sanrio Stores

Here's a look back on the best exterior designed Sanrio stores that was in the States. We all miss seeing a variety of Sanrio stores in every state in America, so this spotlight feature will highlight stores that will be truly missed in design wise. 

1.   Westfield Valley Fair Mall
             Santa Clara, CA

Cr: Web

I love the large size Hello Kitty image with the Sanrio font logo in this particular building design. The simple play of a white background and the blue color to accessorize it looks very pleasing to my eyes

2.   The Fashion Show Mall
             Nevada, Las Vegas

Cr: Web

I love the first thing that grabs your attention are the Sanrio characters. This is what is special about Sanrio. 

3.   Plaza West Covina Mall
             West Covina, CA

Cr: Web

There's nothing like an extraordinary doorway that leads to another fantasy world. This place is where we all want to go in life. 

4.   Southland Mall
            Hayward, CA

Cr: Yelp

Here is another Hello Kitty image with the original Sanrio font logo. With a clean white background, it's simple enough that it's beyond cute. 

5.   Crabtree Valley Mall
            Raleigh, CA

Cr: Yelp

Cr: Yelp

I have fallen in love here. This letter stamp style is truly one of my favorite store design for Sanrio. 

6.   Hillsdale Shopping Center
            San Mateo, CA

Cr: Yelp

Another classic Hello Kitty design that I want to incorporate into my kittified Shrine room.

7.   Sherwood Mall
            Stockton, CA

Cr: Web

I love this one. So simple. It's just Hello Kitty. Enough reason to go inside and explore.

8.   Galleria at Tyler
            Riverside, CA

Cr: Web

There's just something special about that Sanrio font logo with that heart at the end. Loves it.

9.   Nakajima USA

Cr: Web

Anything with a Hello Kitty image is cute!


Cr: Web

Sanrio should already be a household name to Americans, but it's not. Only the name and image of Hello Kitty is recognized in USA.

Honorable Mentions

  Momoberry by Sanrio 
        Beverly Hills, CA

YOU WILL BE MISSED. Rest in peace.