Hello Kitty Beer: Zen and the Art of Crass Marketing

Hello Kitty fruit-flavored beer Courtesy Taiwan Tsing Beer Co

In a country synonymous with manufacturing might and technological prowess, Japan’s Shintaro Tsuji is something of an oddity. The 85-year-old founder of Sanrio runs a character goods licensing enterprise that in 1974 introduced the world to Hello Kitty, a moon-faced cat with a red ribbon, no mouth, and enough over-the-top cuteness to require an insulin shot. To Kitty haters—and they’re legion online—Tsuji should be charged with crimes against humanity. Yet there’s no denying Hello Kitty is one of the most bizarre marketing success stories around.

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