Hello Kitty has elected to label a range of wines from Italy with their signature mascot. The Italian farm in question producing this new range of wines is boutique Italian winery Torti Tenimenti Castelrotto based in the Lombardy region. The range sports cutesy names such as Sweet Pink, Devil Red, Angel White and a Brut Rosé.
Each wine boasts the slogan “Our favourite girl has grown up”, along with hers truly in a differently themed outfit on each bottle. The sparkling wine even boasts a Hello Kitty pendant with an Italian flag coloured ribbon in tow.
When I happend upon this while surfing the net, I couldn’t help but be a little appalled. The whole notion of linking my pink childhood companion to an alcoholic beverage was disturbing. Until I took a step back and looked at the new venture from a marketing perspective.
The Hello Kitty brand has been around for over 35 years and just as I was; it too was forced to grow up. Though the Hello Kitty brand is still going strong, it has had to create brand extensions into adult products through leveraging on pre-existing brand knowledge. This new route that the brand has chosen to pursue is wholly focused on nostalgia. The kids of yester year who refuse to believe that they have grown up are definitely the marketing team’s prime target market.
I still can’t help but wonder whether creating this new brand association between the Hello Kitty brand and wine won’t ultimately harm the brand.
Though there are very positive advantages to brand extension, such as improving the odds of success for the new product, there is also one major disadvantage – brand dilution.
Brand dilution occurs when consumers no longer associate a brand [Hello Kitty] with a specific product [children’s toys] or highly similar products and start thinking less of the brand. (Kotler & Keller, 2006:44)
So in closing, this new marketing venture can turn out to either be yet another success for the cash cow that is the Hello Kitty brand or it could be disastrous. All I know for sure is that it tugs on my childhood memories and I definitely want to buy some.
For stockists (unfortunately mostly American), please click here.
Kotler, P. and Keller, K.L. 2006. Marketing Management. 12th edition. Pearson Prentice Hall: New Jersey.
Keller, K.L. 2003. Strategic Brand Management. Pearson Prentice Hall: New Jersey.