Fashion brands want to have a finger in the pie of popular animation characters.

By Jocelyn Zhou

As one of the first release regions, Hong Kong absolutely felt the heat from Avengers 2: Age of Ultron. According to the Hong Kong Box Office Ltd, Avengers 2 easily beats the former record holder Transformers 4: Age of Extinction $4.8 million with its skyrocketing box-office records — $6.4 million in the opening weekend. The film produced by Walt Disney and Marvel Comics is seizing the highest record worldwide.

The Avengers sequel continues the popularity of live-action movies and animation movies. As of the first half of 2015, with the successive releasing of animation films and live-action films, the cinema screen has been occupied by animation characters. Due to the previous success example like Frozen, many brands from fashion industry are seeking the cooperation with movie companies hoping these popular animation characters can boost their sales and lead a new fashion trend.

Caption: Bossini Mong Kok store sets a huge billboard beside Broadway Theatre for promoting its Doraemon collection. Credit: Jocelyn Zhou

After the release of the Doraemon series films: Stand by me, Hong Kong fashion brand Bossini launched its Doraemon collection along with a Doraemon campaign called happy free. Consumers can get a free Doraemon umbrella for any purchase on HK$600. Alice Ling, a saleswoman at Monkok store said:”Our Doraemon collection includes clothing, backpack and accessories for kids and teenagers. Most of our customers are kids coming with their parent right after watching the Doraemon movie because as you can see our store is located beside the Mong Kok Broadway Theatre.”

Caption: A customer is picking the Avengers collection at the Giordano store. Credit: Jocelyn Zhou

Different from Bossini, Giordano made its preemptive strike. Half month ahead of Avengers 2’s release, Giordano put out its Avengers: The Age of Sport Chic collection. Taking advantage of expectation of Avengers’ fans, this cross-over received lots of attention from young people who loved those animation characters. Queenie Chung, the sales manager in Giordano TST store, said:”The Avengers collection is the best seller recently. Lots of people see the Avengers’ sign and come into our store to check out the special collection, especially teenagers and young adults, most of them know the movie quite well.”

In order to coordinate Avengers 2’s release, Giordano launched second phase collection called “Everyone can be a hero” along with a promotion campaign. Customers can get two free Avengers 2 movie tickets upon purchase of two collection items or net spending over HK$1,200. “The free tickets promotion is going very well.”Chung said, “Many customers saw the promotion and decided to buy one more collection items for the free movie tickets.”

Counting on the continuous popularity of animation and live-action movies and the purchasing power of animation characters’ fans, more and more fashion brands are launching their cross-over collection with movie companies. “To some extent, it can be regarded as a win-win marketing strategy.”Chung Kwok Kay, an international advertisement professor at HKBU said, “But the movie characters should suit for the brand position and its image.”

K K thinks there is risk in this so called win-win strategy. “To fashion brands, they have to pay amount of copyright fee to release the collection. If the products’ quality is not good enough, people won’t be fooled by promotion campaign. It may bring more loss than launching a regular collection.”

On the other hands, as for the movie companies, K K thinks they need to supervise if their characters are misused. He said: “Every animation character has its own image, so does the fashion brand. If they’re not suitable for each other, the cooperation may not bring profit but loss.”

Are these animation theme restaurants worth you lining up waiting?

By Jocelyn Zhou

People always love chasing something new trying to catch up with the latest trend — new bag, new shoes, new fashion trend; new movie, new pub, new entertainments; new phone, new car, new technique. But the most popular trend at the moment is “Foodtertainment”. It’s a combo word for food and entertainment.

When eating becomes an entertainment, then finding a great restaurant becomes a new trend. Since series of animation movies and live-action movies keep refreshing the box-office records during recent years, those popular animation characters have been rediscovered their value by multiple industries. Food industry is one of them. What can be more attractive than a restaurant presenting tasty food combined with the popular animation characters?

Lots of animation theme restaurants and café popped up in Hong Kong recently. Many of them need lining up at peak hours. Let me tell you if the food or decoration worth your time when you are interested in going to the following restaurants.

Caption: During the Doraemon theme, Nippon Sushi Dining was decorated as a Japanese train carriage with animation characters in Doraemon movie.
Credit: Jocelyn Zhou

First coming with Nippon Sushi Dining located at 10th floor at Megabox, Kowloon Bay. According to Openrice, the restaurant’s opening hour is from 11:30a.m. to 11p.m. and there is two hour break from 2p.m. to 4p.m. It started as a Japanese restaurant serving sushi and traditional Japanese food seven year ago. “The owner of the restaurant is a huge fan of a Japanese animation character — Gundam. He got an idea of changing the restaurant into a pop-up animation theme restaurant.”Iris Wu, a graphic designer of the restaurant said,”That’s how we become the first pop-up animation theme restaurant.”

Caption: The best seller among the Doraemon afternoon tea sets is the Memory Bread sets. Nippon Sushi Dining sepically puts out their Doraemon placemats to promote the movie.
Credit: Jocelyn Zhou

The restaurant changes animation theme every three months along with the dishes and the decorations. The most popular theme is the first animation theme of the restaurant magical angel creamy mami and the latest one Doraemon. “We opened this Doraemon theme three day before the 3D movie Doraemon: Stand by Me’s release. We helped promoting the film meanwhile the film attracts Doraemon’s fans coming to eat at our restaurant.”Gloria Tin, the marketing officer said.

The dining is decorated into a chain of railway coaches with the Doraemon posts on the wall. There is a photo corner decorated as the bedroom of the main character Nobita including the famous drawer time machine and Dokodemo door (a door can go anywhere you want). The restaurant serves four dishes with animation theme. All of them are suitable for afternoon tea or as deserts after dinner.
A cup of coffee with a Doraemon face sugar paper costs HK$38 and other three afternoon tea sets are the same price HK$58. There is bread baked as same as the memory bread in the movie with fresh strawberry, peach and jelly. The pancake sets includes a pancake with Doraemon’s face stamped on it, fresh banana and strawberry and a small dish of glutinous rice dumpling and red bean sauce. The desert sets are two Doraemon biscuits and a bowl of sweetened red bean paste.
The food there worth a try for one time but it’s a little bit cold when the dishes coming up. Maybe it’s because they baked the biscuit and the bread in advance. Except that Nippon Sushi Dining also provides traditional Japanese food at the same time.
Let’ move to the newly opened Hello Kitty Chinese Food, it’s located at Canton Road, 7 minutes’ walk from Jordan MTR station. Their opening dinning hour starts from 6 p.m. I got the first place on the waiting list by arriving at 6:15.
The shop is decorated as an old traditional Chinese restaurant with Hello Kitty all over the place. There are ink paintings of Hello Kitty; they got the face of Hello Kitty engraved on mahogany tables and chairs, hang below the lantern-style lights, posted on the wall. Since it’s a Chinese food restaurant, the main colors of the restaurant are red and brown instead of pink which can be seen at every Hello Kitty’s stores.

Caption: The restaurant is full of Hello Kitty items like paintings, lantern-style lights and the decorations on the wall.
Credit: Jocelyn Zhou

The restaurant provides traditional dim sum, fried rice, soups and Chinese snacks. But just several of dishes were decorated as Hello Kitty’s face. Most of dishes added some vegetables carved as Hello Kitty’s face or its icon bow. No creative dishes can be expected.
The type of cuisine is almost the same as every other Cantonese restaurant. The taste of the dishes is below the average. Hello Kitty looks lovely no more after over-steamed. The food and the sauce both taste greasy.

Caption: The Hello Kitty’s face is crooked because the shrimp dumplings are over-steamed.
Credit: Jocelyn Zhou

It is noteworthy that the appetizer — a small dish of cashew which is already served before you seated in is cost HK$12 and no notice will come from the waiter. I asked for vinegar when the first dish came and till I checked out the waitress still didn’t give me. With almost twice the price of a normal Cantonese restaurant, it cost me HK$200 for only three dishes of dim sum. When I walked out of the restaurant and saw people still lining up for it, my advice is go elsewhere unless you are here only for the decoration.

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