Gaspard et Lisa to collaborate with Hello Kitty in Asian market

Sony Creative Products Inc. announces major licensing and merchandising deal.

Sony Creative Products Inc. (SCP), which manages worldwide licensing for the hit French children’s book series and animated cartoon Gaspard et Lisa, has announced a licensing and merchandising collaboration between the property and Sanrio Ltd’s Hello Kitty. The agreement will initially target the Asian market.

The collaboration began in a unique way. The creators of Gaspard et Lisa, Anne Gutman and Georg Hallensblen, and Sanrio‘s Hello Kitty designer, Yuko Yamaguchi, between them created seven oil paintings showing a visit by Hello Kitty to Gaspard and Lisa’s home town of Paris on a private jet. During the visit the two Parisiens show Hello Kitty around the city of Paris and the three friends enjoy spending time together – all of which is captured in the oil paintings.

Following the creation of these paintings, this year will see an expansion of the collaboration into licensing – including the launch of merchandising from Sanrio featuring designs created from these oil paintings. The launch will start in Japan, with Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and other territories to follow.

Yuko Yamaguchi was first inspired to paint Hello Kitty with oil on canvas after seeing Gaspard et Lisa in a commercial in 2006. The opportunity to collaborate came 11 years later when she made a number of trips to France during which she discussed various stories, settings, and designs with the creators of Gaspard et Lisa. In total seven collaborative works were created illustrating the friendship between the characters. Yuko Yamaguchi, Anne Gutman and Georg Hallensblen are looking forward to further collaborations in the future.

Gaspard and Lisa are two cute animal friends created by Anne Gutman together with her husband, illustrator Georg Hallensblen. They have appeared in 40 books and an animated series broadcast in over 80 countries. The two friends are exceptionally popular in Japan, where the books have sold over two million copies and inspired a strong licensing campaign that today includes fashion items, stationery, mobile accessories, and even petcare items. The property has also inspired a theme park, La Ville de Gaspard et Lisa, in Yamanashi.

Hello Kitty was created by Sanrio in 1974. Popular with a wide range of age groups, the character is today a global marketing phenomenon with a vast product range and a merchandising campaign worth billions of dollars a year. Current merchandising involves approximately 50,000 items distributed per year in 130 countries around the world.

Takeshi Nakamura, Global Business Group Licensing Manager, Sony Creative Products Inc., says: “This collaboration between Hello Kitty – one of the most successful character-based properties in history – and Gaspard et Lisa – an enormously popular property with a strong market in Japan – is both innovative and extraordinary. The charming friendship shown in these inspired paintings will not only capture the imagination of fans of both properties but will also drive a strong merchandising capaign.”