By Gary Symons
TLL Editor in Chief
The lifestyle brand Sanrio is putting on a year-long party to mark the 50th anniversary of Hello Kitty.
The ridiculously cute Hello Kitty will turn 50 on Nov. 1, 2024, and Sanrio says the intervening year will be filled with ways to celebrate in both the digital and physical worlds, and will be highlighted with many surprises along the way.
“Ever since I was a kid I’ve had a deep love for everything Hello Kitty,” Aoki said. “Her influence on culture, fashion, art, and design is unmistakable. Witnessing her digital evolution has been amazing, and I can’t wait to see what she’ll do next! I’m confident that she will keep spreading happiness to millions worldwide. And I’m proud that there is an official Steve Aoki x Hello Kitty collaboration that we got to share with all the fans called ‘Hello Aoki.’ Happy 50th, Hello Kitty!”
For this major anniversary, SANRIO says it’s pulling out all the stops with some major new programs. The company says it will introduce new digital tools including an AR (Augmented Reality) app, short animations on TikTok, monthly promotions in My Hello Kitty Cafe on Roblox, and a presence in the digital world of Zepeto. Here’s what fans can expect:
The AR app allows fans to interact with Hello Kitty as she dances beside five iconic global landmarks: toward SHIBUYA109 in Tokyo, Big Ben in London, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, TAIPEI 101 in Taiwan, and the Empire State Building in New York. These landmarks will come alive with celebratory animations, creating a joyous atmosphere. The AR app will also function as a TikTok effect, enabling fans to create and share their own Hello Kitty-themed videos, further enhancing the anniversary celebration.
To celebrate Hello Kitty’s 50th anniversary, a dedicated Hello Kitty animation account, “This is Hello Kitty” (@this_is_hellokitty_), has been launched on TikTok, and up to four short animations of Hello Kitty will be posted every month.
On Roblox, fans will be able to immerse themselves in the Hello Kitty-themed world in My Hello Kitty Cafe on Roblox. Starting in November, they can explore a photo booth for taking Y2Kfeel photos, enjoy a mini-game with emotes and costume rewards, and purchase avatars, costumes, and emotes.
Additionally, from December, fans can experience a museum-themed mini-game and virtual exhibition, as well as participate in a thrilling “Find Hello Kitty” challenge. Sanrio will expand the content in 2024 with the launch of a digital dance floor where fans will be able to dance the night away.
Hello Kitty will also appear in another virtual world on Zepeto, a platform renowned for its customizable 3D avatars and social networking, is now home to a dedicated Hello Kitty environment.
Within this virtual world, fans can immerse themselves in a delightful Hello Kitty experience with themed landscapes, games, boutiques, photo zones, and a dance space. As well, Zepeto is introducing new features, offering users five exciting elements to explore: a Boutique Game where they can channel their inner fashion designer with Hello Kitty motifs, contests, and prizes; a Photo Zone where you can find the hidden Hello Kitty and capture memories; a Dance Zone for dancing alongside Hello Kitty and participating in dance challenges; Athletic Games for entertainment and excitement, and Item Shops brimming with Hello Kitty-themed outfits that allow users to express their unique style.
Items have been available starting from Nov. 1, while the Hello Kitty-themed worlds are planned to be launched from mid-November and onwards.
These digital experiences will be released sequentially starting in November 2023.
Additionally, the Japan Society of Northern California (JSNC), known for its commitment to promoting understanding and friendship between the U.S. and Japan, has presented Hello Kitty with the Cultural Ambassador Award, recognizing her as an international symbol of peace and friendship.
And of course, all of this will be captured on the brand’s social media accounts, so fans can simply follow @hellokitty on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter,TikTok, Pinterest and subscribe to the Hello Kitty and Friends YouTube Channel.