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Hello Kitty: The Remarkable Story of Sanrio and the Billion Dollar Feline Phenomenon Hardcover – December 4, 2003

ISBN-13: 072-3812600540 ISBN-10: 0470820942 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 210 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (December 4, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470820942
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470820940
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,133,070 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A bizarre but strangely addictive read. -- Gulf Business, 17th March 2004

"...a great read with real insight into how clever marketing can find success in highly competitive markets." -- Marketing Business, March 2004

"...tells what must be one of the oddest branding success stories ever..." -- Financial Times, 29 January 2004

“If, like me, you supposed that Hello Kitty was only to be found on pencil cases and stickers…this book will make you think again.” (City to Cities, April/May 2004)

"...tells what must be one of the oddest branding success stories ever..." (Financial Times, 29 January 2004)

"...this book tells the fascinating story of this cute character [Hello Kitty] that has generated close to $1 billion in sales..." (The Chronicle (Reading), 8 January 2004)

"...a great read with real insight into how clever marketing can find success in highly competitive markets." (Marketing Business, March 2004)

“A bizarre but strangely addictive read.” (Gulf Business, 17th March 2004)

From the Inside Flap

Hello Kitty is Japan's brilliant answer to Disney's Mickey Mouse phenomenon in the U.S. This book explains how Sanrio, the company behind Hello Kitty, turned a cute cartoon cat into a multi-billion dollar global commodity. Hello Kitty merchandise helped Sanrio generate nearly $1 billion in revenue in 2002 partly through licensing agreements with more than 500 companies in Japan and hundreds more overseas. The distinct face of Hello Kitty is now plastered on 22,000 different products and sold in about 40 countries.

Sanrio's biggest success is its ability to create products that appeal not only to children, but women in their 20s and 30s around the world. That's why Kitty adorns not only bedspreads, backpacks and notebooks, but mobile phones, toasters and even cars. The book shows why Hello Kitty products are one of Japan's hottest exports and how Sanrio successfully globalized its “golden egg.”

In telling that story, this book shows how one company bucked the odds and turned a cute cat cartoon character into a ferocious business plan. Readers will learn about how and why the Hello Kitty brand clicked with kids and adults alike and how it continues to compete internationally with the likes of Disney and Warner Brothers.


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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A. Gaw on September 26, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book was recommended by a friend who has extensive experience in the consumer goods industry. It was an interesting read, as I'm a fan of Hello Kitty as well as a business school graduate. The authors do a good job of explaining a lot of the background regarding how Sanrio got to where it is today.

One of the things I hoped this book would answer is the question of why Sanrio would distribute its products through a mass retailer like Target. It never even came close to this issue; I'm still curious to know Sanrio's strategy with Target.

I agree with Tristan Beaulieu that the later chapters begin to repeat content from earlier chapters. I'm not sure if this is because it was written by two authors and simply wasn't integrated well enough. Also, some of the earlier chapters refer to vignettes coming later in the book, but it turns out to be a letdown when most of the story has already been revealed by its earlier reference.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Tristan Beaulieu on March 26, 2004
Format: Hardcover
In one of the only books I've ever found attacking directly at the marketing and history of Sanrio without the usage of the cute Sanrio graphics, Belson and Bremmer give more than enough information about the roots of Sanrio, the lines, some of the reasoning for the purchasing, but miss in several other areas. They do not cover why say, Chococat is more popular than Pochacco, or where the company is going to go after the 78 year old CEO, Shintaro Tsuji, retires. Belson and Bremner sort of shrug their shoulders and don't even give us guess.

I feel as if this book could've benefitted a great deal from a better editor. In later chapters, the text began to repeat what earlier chapters had said in the same words, the footnoting system was very irritating, appearing at the end of every chapter. Not something that I want to see. The text starts to wander off into an abridged history of manga, anime, video games, Jpop, typical Japanese pop-culture stuff. If I wanted that, I could go get one of the many many Japanese pop culture books that exist. Light social commentary is put in the back, citing the web response to it.

That being said, the earlier chapters are an interesting read and it is at least worth a look. If only it didn't repeat itself so much...
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By K. Bell on July 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are a Hello Kitty fan you might want to know more about how it all got started. Sometimes repetitious, but still fun to read if you are a Hello Kitty fan, this book provides tons of information about Sanrio and Hello Kitty and her makers. It is an interesting story. Did you know Bill Gates tried to buy the copywrite to Hello Kitty? A fun read. Good for summer relaxing or rainy days in a blanket. It will make you love Kitty White even more (if that is possible!)!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By xprismperfectx on January 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I am a huge fan of the Sanrio company and everything it creates and I received this book for Christmas. The writing style is typical of a high school student's book report. The same facts are repeated over and over, making half the book seem like filler. The same numbers and figures and statements are constantly repeated. In short, the book could have been about 30 pages long without the filler.

It backtracks a lot also. It feels like every chapter is written by a new writer who was told to research Hello Kitty (like I said, it repeats). I wish it would have had a more linear style, from beginning to end.

The facts are very interesting though, and learning about the creator was also a nice treat.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By eric on January 13, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The book is an interesting account of Kitty's evolution into one of the world's most recognized characters alongside Snoopy and Mickey Mouse -- and of Sanrio, the company that made billions on it. The book tells the story of charismatic founder Shintaro Tsuji and the key people who have promoted and protected Hello Kitty since she was born in 1974. The authors use the character and the company to give a kitten's-eye view of how Japanese companies and culture work. Sanrio's lucky breaks, triumphs and mistakes can help investors better understand what makes Japanese companies sprint and stumble, and for Japan investment novices, Sanrio's history is a great primer on the nation's booms, busts and bubbles over the past 30 years. For Japan experts, Hello Kitty's popularity is a useful model for analyzing other Japanese giants involved in exporting fun. Companies that make videogames and promote cute characters -- including Nintendo Co., Konami Corp., Capcom Co. and Bandai Co. -- are among the hottest stocks in Japan. Other such companies will no doubt emerge, and hints on how to spot them can be gleaned from Sanrio's struggle to understand its pre-teen customers, protect its copyright, and send its kitten around the world.
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