Hello Kitty's Tribute to Visionary Apple CEO, Steve Jobs

Sanrio, Japan's kawaii character company and home of cuteness queen Hello Kitty, teamed up with California goods retailer LoungeFly to thank Apple's inspirational CEO, the late Steve Jobs, for a lifetime of creativity. The result was a bizarrely cute "Hello Stevie" love-child that ended up pleasing nobody.

Surprisingly (or not), Sanrio's Kitty-centric homage to Apple's iconic co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer has ruffled feathers (or fur) among Apple fanboys worldwide. That's the thing with icons... mess with them and you reap the whirlwind.

On the face of it, Sanrio's tribute seems harmless enough and surprisingly (again), it didn't appear to have any ulterior motives – which in the case of Sanrio, means some sort of marketing opportunity.

Even LoungeFly comes off relatively unscathed. The company markets an extensive range of licensed Hello Kitty clothing and accessories but even their Hello Kitty Nerds series doesn't directly reference Steve Jobs or those devoted to Apple computers, MacBooks, iPhones, iPads and iPods.

Let's look at Sanrio's handiwork which can be found at the official Hello Kitty Blog, “Your superfun source for all things Sanrio”. Just to the left of the message “Steve, Thank you for a lifetime of creativity!” (or on an alternate version, "Steve Jobs, 1955-2011. In loving memory. Thank you for a lifetime of creative genius") is a shamelessly Kittified version of Steve Jobs.

Basically what Sanrio has done is to graft some of Jobs' better known fashion and features characteristics onto the standard, mouthless, Hello Kitty template. Thus we find the new, hybrid character dressed in Jobs' trademark blue jeans and long-sleeved, Issey Miyake designed, black turtleneck t-shirt.

The Jobsian theme continues with a stylized pair of Lunor Classic Round frameless eyeglasses, the Apple logo on both belt buckle and hairbow, even Jobs' familiar 3-day stubble and close-cropped receding hairline. The finishing touch is an Apple iPad held in Hello Stevie's, er, Kitty's right hand (paw, whatever).

Well, what do you think of Sanrio's tribute to Steve Jobs? Innocent and heartfelt homage to a fellow pop culture “creator” or just another cynical marketing ploy by one of the planet's most successful image marketers? (via Hello Kitty Hell and LoungeFly)