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Sixty Years of Sanrio: The Future of Cute Culture

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The founding brand behind the culture of cute guides the Festival of Licensing through the on-going kawaii craze, consumer products and character-driven content.

Built on the Japanese tradition of exchanging small gifts, Sanrio has been nurturing friendships across generational and cultural lines for sixty years. With more than 400 characters introduced over 60 years, and Hello Kitty leading the army of personalities across the world, Sanrio has brought countless iterations of its family to life through consumer products, location-based entertainment and content. But with 6 decades of heritage, what’s next for the character kingpins? They discussed this and more at their Festival of Licensing keynote.

“We are focused on increasing awareness for our top characters with several types of content, including YouTube videos and animations, digital apps and social media which allows us to grow brand affinity by expanding on their personalities,” says Linh Forse, senior director, sales, business development, Sanrio. “We're also launching various multi character product programs with toys and collectibles so girls can continue strengthening their connections to these characters as they discover them through contents. In today's digital air, we can leverage our portfolio of characters for unlimited storytelling possibilities.” 

This diverse portfolio has already graced the world in myriad different ways, but a new content launch will bring Hello Kitty and friends to digital platforms in new ways with Netflix, YouTube and Warner Bros. 

“In conjunction with our Sanrio 60th anniversary celebration,” adds Forse. “We will be launching a new short form animated series on YouTube chronicling the adventures of Hello Kitty and her friends titled ‘Hello Kitty and Friends Super Cute Adventures’. This series will develop the characters personalities and builds on their stories. The characters in the series Hello Kitty, Kerropi, Pompompurrin, Badtz-Maru, Kuromi and My Melody were selected due to their popularity and varying personalities were created a share universe in which they all live in interact. Episodes we'll explore relevant themes and storylines for today's girls, as well as infuse our core pillars of friendship, kindness and inclusivity. We will continue building on additional seasons of Hello Kitty and friends super cute adventures in 2021.” 

Now, as gaming is bringing in more and more dedicated players, precisely 84% of tween girls are playing games with almost a third of their time on gaming, which is a continued focus for Sanrio’s digital strategy. 

“We are focused on Hello Kitty and Friends multi character execution,” adds Forse. “This allows us to strengthen the brand equity of Hello Kitty among a core demo and increase brand awareness and exposure of the other lead characters. On these various apps girls can enjoy activities such as building their own Kawai theme park or restaurant Offering consists of games with themes such as cooking, fashion design, nail art, car racing and puzzle quiz challenges among others. In addition to our strategy for girls, we also target our millennial woman demo in the digital space. co brands have proven to be a very effective strategy in the physical product space, and we see the same success in the digital world. As such, a strategy includes partnership with high profile brands and promotional opportunities within iconic gaming brands, such as Animal Crossing, Sonic and PacMan. We are currently in development with some key industry leaders for new apps, launching in 2021 and 2022. We're also expanding the esports space and launching gaming accessories in 2021.” 

For a full insight into the rapidly expanding world of Sanrio, catch the keynote on kicking-off day two of Asia week “A Small Gift, Big Smile: Evolving a Global Heritage Brand While Maintaining Core Values” at Festival of Licensing here. 

To learn more about Sanrio, register for free to attend the Festival of Licensing event and watch the keynote on-demand.

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