Week4-7 - Introduction 77096 Weuffi/ess Csaz‘ z‘fiaf...

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Unformatted text preview: Introduction 77096 Weuffi/ess Csaz‘ z‘fiaf floored .. . First time Visitors to Japan are, in many ways, all . ' alike, whether they come from the US, Germany or China. At first glance, they see Tokyo, the most frequent gateway for trips to Japan, as a buzzing yet orderly city crammed with offices, apartment blocks, restaurants and thousands of stores. The country's commercial might is on display: the streets are filled with trucks, taxis and cars, all seemingly filled with polite, purposeful drivers ; legions of office workers dutifully file out of packed subway cars and into packed elevators that take them to their offices; the streets are spotless and the taxi drivers even wear white gloves. Everything seems to work. Scratch a bit deeper, though, and you’ll find a raucous media war going on. It’s the fight for people’s attention. Everywhere in this narrow country, citizens are bombarded with signs, symbols and all manner of come-ons. Some pitches are subtle and oblique, like pictures of famous pop stars plastered on billboards endorsing a product. Everyone knows they don't actually use it, but their face somehow lends the product some credibility. Words aren’t needed, images seem t Hails Kitty :e be eneugh. Sametimes, the pitch is unintentienaily irenic. iiice the “Smakin' clean” lega rat a smiling saiaryrn an plastered an smeldering public ashtrays. initiatever the medium. it's clear Japanese are espesed ta theusands at these messages everyday. in many ways. they have beceme eblivieus tn them, mnstiy nut crf necessity, like the grandmas walking past screaming bands at street hawkers handing nut packets at tissues with advertisers’ messages inside. But with as many ccimpanies putting an much energy inte getting their pitch acrass, it's fair in say that Japanese have becnrne same at the wertcl‘s mest sephisticated cenneisseurs at signs and symbnis. This makes sense in a cnuntry where hen-verbal cummunicatien is nften the preferred means at cemtnu nicatinn and the enuntry"s language is a series at pictngrams called tariff. it alsn fits with japan’s icing traciltinn nt graphic arts -— everythmg item serells, in water cnlers te weedbleclt prints, tn mange {cnmic banks} and entree {animated videe} — japanese lave using images, artistic tar nflierwise, tel camrntmicate. It makes sense then, that Japan has aise preduced cine ef the wcrrld's mnst successful cemmerciai images. a demure cat called Helie Kitty. Mickey Manse and Sneepy may he mare Eamnus and lucrative characters, thanlcs tn a string rat Disney mnvies and the icing-running Peanuts cumin: strips. But Heller Kitty is pure imagery. With few exceptiens. her creatnrs at Sanrie Ltd. have purpesely shied away tram develeping any stnry in her life, instead leaving her persenality tn the eyes and minds at the tiehnlder. This Zen-like technique, inten- l'ienaily ctr net. has ailewed Kitty Isa been-me at cmce the princess ni' purity in teddters. a Cuddly playmate fer ycrurtg girls and a walla dawn memnry lane fer adults yearning int anather taste ef childheed. hr the same time, Kitty has been vilified by anarche—feminists, anti—censumer critics and ethers whe see her as part at a devilish pint te sell wnt'thless junk in a saccharine sweet package. Whatever side at the argument ynu fall. en, there's he denying that Kitty means business w big business. nitheugh iatrndartiei't 5 Eanrie has a lineup at mere than =i-[Ji'i different characters, Kitty, whe was created in 19374, generates ahnnt halt" nt Sam-ins $1 hiiiien in annual sales. She is stuck en mere than ECLDUG precincts, abeut nee—third predueed by Eanrie and the rest licensed tn nutsiders [generating hittinns in mere revenue} in every majer eeenemy en the glelae. Her mnnn— shaped face has been slapped en every imaginable preduet: cinthing and tnys, nt cnurse. tint alsn tnasters, trashcans and, fer a while, autemehiies. She has spawned films, teley'isiert shnws and a newspaper, and has hecnme nne at the meat ceyeted brand images in the werid. Bill Gates theught sn highly ei Helie Kitty that he repertedly was willing tn pay $5.15 1IIJiliien te acquire her eepyright. Kitty is alse pert ei tapan's grewing e and increasingly giebal — entertainment industry, ene that is werth behyeen $401} billinn and 965% hittinn a yea r. er up tn tea at the cntuitry's gress dninestic preduct in sens} Whether it he mange, animr, yidee games nr deaens ni ether media. Japan has been turned inte a natinnal Tenn Team, a giant petri dish fer the graphic arts. Mange aiene generates $6 billien a year in sales, and tit'J'Eit: ei the werid’s animated 1widens are predated in Japan- Cempanies like Sega, Hintende and Seny have served eat a huge chunk ef hmerica’s multi-biiiinn deliar yidee game market. Sanrie, Eandai, Knnami and ethers are deing the same in the tey market. This bent; attempts tn explain hew all this came tn he, and te pesit where it is all headed- Ey leeking at i-ieiie Kitty, we hepe te shew that Sanrie snirnbied tmte ene ef the mest ingenieus term-Jinn in the histery ef medern branding. By sticking her cute face an practically everything, Sanrin has eIE'ated an entire cnmniercial ca tegnry where cute and rnnsurners ennyerge, ntten in unexpected ways. Thnugh }apan is Kitty’s heme, her brand power has aliewed her te spread threeghetit Asia and, rnere recently, tn the U5. and Eurepe. We’ll find nut why. This transfermatien was net simply the result at slavish sens-enters getting sit-sited inte a cemmerciai mew. Kitty's success El Hells Kitty is part at the rise at what we call the “culture tit cute,” a unique blend ei pest-mndern desire and infantile attestatinn This, tee, grew up first in fapan in the 197’Eis and 1930's and is new spreading everseas. Sanrin's thunder, Shintarn Tsuiir was fine til the first businessmen in tap intn this market and ene at the must skilled prattltieners at mining his characters fer nulliens. I'hnugh l-iitty remains hugely pepular, she, like all brands. must be managed and massaged ta remain prefitable. And as she nears the end bf her third decade in the public: eye, t'l'tEI'IE are signs that her appeal is starting tn fade in seine earners. Sanriu, like many eempanies, is seramblii'ig' te eeme up with alternative strategies fer gnawing its business. in this way, Kitty represents an engaging and engeing study in brand management. Fer decades. Sanrie has been stewed by Tsuji's heavy hand. Bern in 192?, Tsuji is nearing retirement and questinns are emerging ahnut whether the mmpany has a strategy ta replete his instincts and charisma. indeed, haw Sanria deals with these challenges will help determine whether Kitty will remain nne at the wnrid's mast reeng'niaahle images, er whether she will turn intn eat litter and sequestered tn the earthen trash heap. ENDNUTES ' Htinald l'uiurse. Paull.TLtraea.l-s1':hair in Til-Erlfipiiri rials-tines 3|! L'CL-"i. UCLA drain lnFtiiuiL‘: The Hattie fur the Glnbal Entertainment industry: lap-en’s Gunning Strength in Digital Culture, Earl. Eli-[3'3 published article. ...
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This note was uploaded on 06/20/2008 for the course IAH 201 taught by Professor Dontknow during the Spring '05 term at Michigan State University.

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Week4-7 - Introduction 77096 Weuffi/ess Csaz‘ z‘fiaf...

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