Theory and strategies of anthropomorphic brand characters from Peter Rabbit, Mickey Mouse, and Ronald McDonald, to Hello Kitty

Sameer Hosany, Girish Prayag, Drew Martin, Wai-Yee Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Brand characters are ubiquitous in marketing. Previous studies establish their relevance in advertising. Surprisingly, little research exists on how to build and sustain brand characters. Adopting a case-study approach, this paper explores the brand management strategies of Sanrio's iconic character Hello Kitty, a cat epitomising cuteness and innocence. Findings indicate that eight tactics help to build and sustain the Hello Kitty brand: keep it simple, character licensing, third-party collaboration, capitalising on nostalgia, product-line extensions, brand extensions, sustaining consumer interests, and harnessing technology. The paper also identifies some challenges facing Hello Kitty.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-68
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Marketing Management
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • anthropomorphic marketing
  • brand characters
  • Hello Kitty
  • nostalgia
  • brand management
  • third-party collaborations
  • licensing
  • brand extension

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