There’s No Party Like a Sanrio Party

Sanrio is getting ready to celebrate Hello Kitty’s 50th anniversary in 2024 with more licensed consumer products for fans worldwide.

Patricia DeLuca, Senior Managing Editor

October 12, 2023

5 Min Read
"Hello Kitty Island Adventure."
"Hello Kitty Island Adventure."Sanrio

At a Glance

  • Celebrating 50 Years
  • One World, Connected Categories and Communities
  • Surprise and Delight

Sanrio has an extensive reach in consumer products is an understatement. Go to any store, anywhere in the world, and you’re apt to see a Sanrio-branded product. While the company may have a massive reach, it has criteria to work with a licensee. The company looks for innovative, collaborative licensees that can communicate the brand’s core values and unique attributes in a way that authentically bonds with fans. Sanrio hopes to bring smiles to everyone’s faces with their vision of “One World, Connecting Smiles” by infusing its core values of friendship, kindness and inclusivity into everything it does, including products, services and activities that inspire unique consumer experiences all over the world. 

Celebrating 50 Years

Sanrio is getting ready to celebrate a big anniversary in 2024. Hello Kitty will celebrate her milestone with licensed rollouts for fans around the globe.

Sanrio has already started the celebrations for Hello Kitty by lining up new licensees. Jazwares signed a multiyear North American master toy licensing agreement with Sanrio to create a toy line inspired by Hello Kitty and Friends. Jazwares’ Hello Kitty and Friends toy line (which includes several of Sanrio’s most popular core characters and Netflix sensations Aggretsuko and Gudetama) will feature Sanrio’s signature kawaii style in a wide range of toy products across multiple categories.

Hello Kitty & Friends Loungefly accessories.

Set to launch at mass retail in 2024, Jazwares has secured licensing rights to design, manufacture and market a cross-category line of toys for the brand. The entire line will include an array of plush, plastics and seasonal items for kids and collectors. Products will be available across North America and South America, with select categories rolling out in territories across Asia and Europe.

One World, Connected Categories and Communities

With a ubiquitous presence in licensed consumer products, it’s hard to think of a licensing category Hello Kitty isn’t a part of. Hello Kitty’s extensive fanbase has evolved and developed into one that spans four generations. She appeals to a diverse group around the world. The common thread of Hello Kitty’s fandom, through every age, is about community and sharing. 

The Hello Kity Café as featured in "Roblox."

Sanrio’s recent licensed rollouts could fall into the kidult category, specifically for the millennial demographic, which has grown alongside Hello Kitty. Mighty Jaxx released a line of collectibles, featuring characters like Pochacco, Kiki, Lala and Hello Kitty. Sculpted with artist Jason Freeny’s half-and-half style, each character is half transparent and filled with shaker balls to match their sweet exteriors, revealing their personalities. Ukonic launched a range of small appliances, wellness, lighting and storage for Sanrio IPs, such as Keroppi, Chococat, Tuxedosam, My Melody, Pochacco, LittleTwinStars, Pompompurin, Hangyodon and many more.

Surprise and Delight 

While it may seem that no stone is left unturned for Sanrio and licensing, the brand’s goal is to surprise – and delight – fans with unique and unexpected programs. Sanrio is always looking for the next thing. 

“Since the beginning, Hello Kitty has had the unique ability to connect people all over the world and encourage fans to express themselves authentically,” says Craig Takiguchi, chief operating officer, Sanrio. “With our 50th anniversary in 2024, we look forward to continuing to inspire people from around the globe with our vision of ‘One World, Connecting Smiles’ and can’t wait to share many new experiences with the brand.” 

Hello Kitty Pyrex.

Hello Kitty’s positive messaging and core values of friendship, kindness and inclusivity are part of its physical and digital worlds. Sanrio released “Hello Kitty Island Adventure” this summer on Apple Arcade. This life simulation game lets players build friendships with characters like Kuromi, Badtz-maru and Cinnamoroll as they explore a massive island with a magical underwater world filled with puzzles, challenges and mysterious treasures. Players can invite friends into the game to play together or solo as they travel through a world teeming with creatures and food with mysteries to unravel. Players can participate in mini-games, solve puzzles and uncover treasures to create an island paradise. 

Sanrio fans can also enjoy the Hello Kitty culture in real life through location-based experiences. There are branded parks in Japan (Sanrio Puroland) and China (Hello Kitty Park), dining in Las Vegas and Irvine, Calif. (Hello Kitty Cafe) and health (Parklane Dental in California). For Sanrio, it’s a way to localize the brand and bring experiences to fans so they can engage and express their fandom within their communities. Sanrio plans to open more Hello Kitty Cafes and other location-based experiences. 

“We are grateful to have a community of supporters who truly embody our brand values of friendship, kindness and inclusivity,” says Takiguchi. “Both our new and life-long fans are passionate brand advocates and engage with our characters across all sectors, including favorites such as beauty, fashion, play and extensively in the digital space with content, gaming and social media.” 

This article was taken from the September/October 2023 issue of License Global.

About the Author(s)

Patricia DeLuca

Senior Managing Editor, License Global

Patricia DeLuca currently serves as License Global's Senior Managing Editor.

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