25 October 2010

Do Hello Kitty graphics on Smart Cars go too far?

USA Today

Is Smart USA getting too smart for its own good?

You've got to wonder when you see the new, pink Hello Kitty wrap for the Smart car. No doubt about it, it's cute. But is it so cute that it might alienate Smart's more macho fans?

As Suzanne Ashe at CNET's Cartech blog sees it, "It's like driving your elementary school lunch box--without the sour-milk smell." At least Sanrio, who owns the Hello Kitty brand, couldn't be more delighted.

"Our collaboration with Smart USA allows fans to truly embrace the Hello Kitty lifestyle," said Janet Hsu, president of Sanrio, Inc. "This is the first time that Sanrio will offer a Hello Kitty car in the United States.

If any of you are living a "Hello Kitty lifestyle" out there, please message us hear at Drive On to tell us about it.

Smart teamed with Hello Kitty creator Sanrio for the wraps available through the car's brand's "Smart Expressions" program that it started over the summer.

Before you think that Smart has gone kitten crazy, consider that they might be smart -- like a fox:

"We are expanding the highly successful Smart program by adding licensed brands as part of our wrap offerings," said Kim McGill, Smart USA's vice president of marketing. "Both Hello Kitty and Smart are expressive with a passionate following, and this is a special opportunity to bring the two fan bases together."

The smart Expressions program offers Hello Kitty wraps in three different full body designs, each with a selection of color schemes, in addition to a series of partial wrap designs and colors.

The Hello Kitty-wrapped cars will appear at many Sanrio 50th Anniversary events this fall.

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