The nauseatingly-cutesy Sanrio logo Hello Kitty, which has been used to boost sales of backpacks, gondola rides, vibrators and more, has been enlisted to appeal champagne to the Chinese market. Bottler M. Hostomme unveiled a Hello Kitty Champagne at last month’s International Wine and Spirits Fair in Hong Kong, the Drinks Business reports.
Not to be confused with the Hello Kitty wine produced by Torti Tenimenti Castelrotto, this champagne, called Cuvée Spéciale, is a rosé that’s 50 percent Pinot Noir, 30 percent Pinot Meunier and 20 percent Chardonnay. So unlike Hello Kitty Beer, the only cloyingly-sweet thing about this beverage is the logo. Dutch entrepreneur Paul Herman describes the inspiration behind it:
“I thought this character was just for 5-10 years olds until I saw a Hello Kitty launch party in LA hosted by Paris Hilton and Beyoncé,” Herman told db.
“It’s amazing what you can find – Hello Kitty-branded Swarovski-encrusted bikes, Mini Coopers, even Eva’s Boeing jets that fly the Taiwan to Tokyo route where the inflight meal features Hello Kitty. I’m a Dutch guy, so I’m very open-minded. I’m always looking for new things,” he added.
We’d agree if he swapped “open-minded” with “money-minded.” Hello Kitty has helped multinational companies from 7-Eleven to McDonald’s increase sales. And while we’d like to say it’s more than just a cutesy logo, it’s exactly that. There are myriad psychological studies showing that Hello Kitty’s brand of cuteness, or Kawaii, appeals to innate maternal instincts, and is thereby a cash cow/cat, responsible for the Pokémon craze, Beanie Babies craze, and perhaps even the survival of pandas. Take note, chocolate producers in China.
Naturally, Herman had to jump through hoops to gain rights to the logo. He says, “I approached Sanrio last year, and they gave me the global license. It was quite a long process, and we needed to get Sanrio’s approval every step of the way. It’s the first time there’s been a Hello Kitty-branded Champagne.”
However, even with Hello Kitty literally on its side, champagne may have trouble wooing Chinese customers, who don’t like its “cold bubbles,” and aren’t accustomed to the pre-dinner drinking ritual that champagne’s a part of.
Cuvée Spéciale is currently available in Japan and Hong Kong, and will hopefully be making its way to Shanghai soon.
Benjamin Cost is Shanghaiist’s Food Editor. Email tips, recommendations, and news updates on Shanghai’s dining scene to [email protected].