After being announced on their official Twitter on November of 2015, Sanrio Danshi immediately drew the attention of a female audience, and as of December 2016 their Twitter follower count has risen up to approximately 190,000 people. We will now report on the strategies which this brand is taking to expand towards multiple media formats.
■Their concept is “raising the standard of Sanrio characters”
We spoke to Sanrio Danshi’s producer, Ms. Maho Minagawa, who works in Sanrio’s project operations department, and she told us that Sanrio Danshi and SHOW BY ROCK!! are two entirely different productions.
SHOW BY ROCK!! is an attempt to enter into a whole new market, whereas Sanrio Danshi tries to raise the standard for the kind of characters Sanrio has been designing until now, like Hello Kitty or Pom Pom Purin.
Sanrio’s characters have a lot of power over the female market, but according to a marketing survey, despite the fact that these characters are popular among girls in their teens, these teenagers lose their interest afterward and only rediscover their love of these characters when they become older. In other words, the teens in their fanbase are less deeply attached to their characters. That’s why Sanrio is aiming for a circular model where their new characters, the Sanrio Danshi, will become popular among teenage girls, but since at the same time the Sanrio Danshi are also fans of classic Sanrio characters they can renew people’s interest in them.
■The key is their “quest for realism”
That is why the Sanrio Danshi needed to be designed as characters which would appeal to teenagers. And that’s where “realism” played an important role.
“We wanted them to have a sense of realism, as if they actually existed.”
This was an important aspect in the design, too. They had to re-design them again and again until they looked like real high school students. For example, they used hair colors which actually exist and gave them stylish haircuts. They each have their own personality, but they didn’t add too many different personalities in order to not divide people’s sense of attachment to the group. This is why there are only 5 of them.
“In aiming to create a long-lived hit, the challenge is knowing how much your audience is going to love the characters.
We managed to create 5 characters which could be liked by any kind of girl,” said Ms. Minagawa with confidence.
What concerns her now is how to expand this brand. As said before, the Sanrio Danshi already have their own anime and smartphone app, but the official website doesn’t even offer an outline of what the official storyline is. It has been a year since they were announced, and now should be the time to gradually reveal an official storyline.
This is a strategy with a real sense of long-term vision and which doesn’t get blocked by current trends, a strategy whichÂÂ tries to plan a circulation of their own company’s characters with the creation of a lengthy hit brand. This is precisely a kind of strategy which Sanrio can execute thanks to their many years of know-how regarding the multi-media expansion of characters for a female market.
In this aspect you can really feel their “veteran fighting spirit”.
In an additional article we will explore the growing presence of female fans in the entertainment market.
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>>”Sanrio Danshi” First half – A new development for this veteran character company
>>”Sanrio Danshi” Special article – The growing presence of female fans in the entertainment market
(Article by: Kenichi Nakamura)
Fields Research Institute (FRI) conducts research in entertainment.
This article was written by a member of FRI, through the original coverage of his/her interests observed in their daily lives.