By Judy Kurtz
A political novice is entering the presidential race, and we hear her campaign is all about positive messaging.
Hello Kitty, the Japanese cartoon character with the cult-like following whose mug can be seen on everything from toaster ovens to golf bags, is making her first foray into politics with her “Hello Kitty for President” campaign.
Unlike other politicians, Hello Kitty won’t have to worry about any verbal gaffes during her stump speeches — the uber-cute feline’s face is mouth-less. David Marchi, the senior director of brand management and marketing at the Hello Kitty-producing company Sanrio Inc. (and the candidate’s presidential campaign manager), tells us, “We like to say that she speaks from the heart.”
And don’t expect any attack ads from this bow-wearing cat. Hello Kitty, who first appeared in the United States in 1976, is representing the Friendship Party. “The platform is simple,” says Marchi. “It’s about sharing friendship, fun and happiness.” Hmmm. Not sure that is going to work in politics.
Her White House bid might also bring financial happiness to the company behind her campaign, which includes T-shirts for men and women, a limited-edition plush doll, bumper stickers, buttons and a special American flag-style hair bow. Marchi explains, “We’re treating it as much as we can like a real political campaign where we just want to get the word out.”
Vice President Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) might be biting their nails on Nov. 1, when the snow-colored kitty will be announcing one of her illustrated animal friends (either Tuxedosam, Badtz-Maru, My Melody, Chococat or Keroppi) as her running mate — the results of a poll of her more than 10 million fans on Facebook.
Marchi has a message for those who might claw at the cartoon cat’s campaign as exploiting the democratic process, saying he sees it as a way to “inject a little lighthearted fun into an otherwise serious political season.”
And Hello Kitty won’t be too bummed if she doesn’t become commander in chief on Election Day: “I think she’ll just be happy that she has had a fun campaign and brought more smiles to people.”