The 'Hello Kitty' Bullet Train Has an Onboard Merch Store, Promo Products Everywhere
Have you ever wondered what a fully immersive promotional branding experience would look like zooming past you at 200-plus mph? Wonder no more.
Yesterday, we included this “Hello Kitty” branded Japanese bullet train in the Fave 5, but we wanted to investigate it a little further because it’s pretty darn impressive.
The train debuted in 2018 as part of the Japan Railway West Co. (JR West) fleet, running on the Sanyo Shinknsen line starting in June. And pretty much from top to bottom (or engine to caboose), it's decked out in all things “Hello Kitty,” but still incorporates themes from its train line and the surrounding area.
According to the Japan Rail Pass site:
JR West will highlight every region along the new bullet train’s itinerary. They’ve released eight original Hello Kitty designs holding a local delicacy from each of the places the train stops, like a green apple for Tottori prefecture, a strawberry for Fukuoka, and a black shell for Shimane prefecture.
For one thing, the cartoon’s red ribbon motif is used as a metaphor for the ties between the train service and Western Japan.
According Japan Railpass, the first two cars of the train include a photo booth, a souvenir shop and snacks. For an added bit of fun and brand immersion, the “Hello Kitty” theme plays when the train pulls into stations.
You'd be hard pressed to find any detail that hasn't been "Hello Kitty"-ified
— Dave in Osaka (@DaveInOsaka) July 2, 2020
While the train is in service, it’s included in normal Japan Rail pass purchases, but it’s advised that passengers reserve a seat, since it’s such a popular attraction and limited run.
Rail transportation is integral to life in a lot of countries like Japan, so using something so common for a promotional exhibit of sorts is pretty genius. It’s sort of like the way movie studios have branded in-flight amenities on airlines, but a few steps beyond that. This would be like an Amtrak train being decked out in a “Friends” theme, or something. The bar cart would be all decorated like Central Perk, Joey and Chandler’s weird dog statue would be in front of passenger cars, and the train plays the theme song when it pulls into Secaucus, N.J.
And since bullet trains go so fast (hence the name), this is a good way to get eyes on a particular brand or logo during commutes, surrounding riders in branding rather than hoping they view it on a billboard out their window.