Not to be outdone by Big Bird, another popular children’s character is entering the political fray.
Hello Kitty, the cartoon cat that makes up the majority of Sanrio’s $5 billion in annual sales of merchandise, like pink pencil boxes and backpacks, has decided to run for president. She threw her hat into the ring after fans on Facebook and Twitter urged her to do so, reports her campaign manager, Dave Marchi.
It should be noted that Kitty isn’t a Republican or Democrat—she’s a member the “Friendship Party.” Even though she’s yet to make a blip in the polls, she won’t be slinging mud at President Obama or Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Her platform: “create more happiness, friendship, and fun,” says Marchi, who doubles as a marketing executive at Sanrio. When pressed about Hello Kitty’s economic plan, he said she doesn’t have one. Asked about her stance on same-sex marriage, he added: “Um, she’s supporting friendship, happiness, and fun. I think we can imply whatever supports friendship, happiness, and fun.”
Her official poster, released exclusively to The Daily Beast (above), advertises her main selling points—being “cute,” “smart,” and “kind.” As part of the campaign, Hello Kitty will open a pop-up shop in Washington, D.C., that will peddle her memorabilia, including “Vote for Hello Kitty” T-shirts, buttons, and bumper stickers. Fans can weigh in on a running mate on her Facebook poll, where Hello Kitty has 10.6 million fans. So far, the leading contenders are her Sanrio pals My Melody (a female rabbit) and Chococat (a black cat).
Hello Kitty isn’t the first fictional character to run for president. In 1960, Alvin Seville from Alvin in the Chipmunks recorded a song called “Alvin for President,” which prompted John F. Kennedy to say, “I’m glad to know I have at least one worthy opponent.”
A source in Hello Kitty’s inner circle says that if she wins the November election, she wouldn’t paint the White House pink, although she might hang up her trademark red bows throughout the halls of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. There’s just one problem. Kitty, who is 38, was born in the suburbs of London, which would disqualify her for the office of U.S. president. But her campaign manager doesn’t express any concern about this. “She’s a citizen of the world!” he says.
Hello Kitty wasn’t available for comment, because “she has no mouth,” says a rep.