Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Hello Kitty: The Remarkable Story of Sanrio and the Billion Dollar Feline Phenomenon

Hello Kitty: The Remarkable Story of Sanrio and the Billion Dollar Feline Phenomenon by Ken Belson and Brian Bremner.  Hardcover book published by John Wiley & Sons 2004.

Business histories, or books on economics, are not something that usually get picked up by the Huc & Gabet radar.  Quite honestly I’d rather cut my toenails than have to think too much about business books.  In this instance it was the massive popularity of the subject matter that sparked my interest and drew my attention.  Apparently there are 22,000 licensed Hello Kitty products worldwide (22,001 including this book)… I find this a little frightening as I’m pretty sure there are people out there who collect ALL of this stuff… which includes everything from a Passenger Jet to Wine.  So what’s the appeal?  Well… I have no idea, I’m not a child and I’m not a woman in her 20s or 30s (this is the target audience for Hello Kitty products… I got this bit of info from the publishers blurb) and quite honestly it’s not my thing… but I am aware that there are plenty of people out there who’s thing Hello Kitty is. 

But this book isn’t really about the Kitty.  It’s about Sanrio the company that produces/markets Hello Kitty (real name is Kitty White).  It’s pretty heavy going and sticks to the whole business mode thingy throughout (…no, I haven’t read it… it just looks like it’s like this all the way through). 

“The phenomenal and global success of Hello Kitty poses some interesting questions about what drives consumer behaviour, and how crazes suddenly explode on the scene.”

There are no lovely illustrations or photographs of any of the 20,000 items and even the front of the dust jacket only reveals a partial image of the top of Kitty’s head.  The back of the dust jacket has a smallish token picture only.  Overall the book is a glowing endorsement of the company and it’s “brilliant answer to Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse”. 

I guess Hello Kitty is an interesting subject which is why the Huc & Gabet radar picked up on it.  It is a Japanese brand and icon that has successfully moved out of Japan and developed into a Billion dollar international business (which is not that many Passenger Jets, but a lot more wine).  So if your interested in modeling your own cute cartoon icon on a “phenomenal and global success” then this is the book for you.  If your 6 years old and want some nice pictures of the cute Kitty… then this isn’t the book for you.

1 comment:

  1. Heidi loves hello kitty so this would be of no interest to her.