Suntory Beer

Suntory CM from the 80s | Papipu Penguins

These cute penguins were mascots for Suntory Beer in Japan during the 80s. Papipu penguins first appeared as TV ads and became so popular that their heart breaking story was turned into a movie called "A Penguin's Memory" (separate to the Suntory campaign, link to video above).

So the story goes, Mike the Penguin is a war veteran with PTSD. He meets Jill the Penguin, an aspiring singer. The pair fall in love but face many hurdles such as love rivals and Mike's emotional trauma.

As a kid, I was attached to these characters - both because of their overwhelming cuteness and sad story. (I would tear up after each ad, longing for a happy ending). I think adults responded in the same way and then went to buy the beer 😂👌

"Kawaii" or cute culture has been a huge part of Japanese design for decades. It makes me happy to see that appreciation of this aesthetic has been spreading globally, and is no longer strictly for toddlers. Back when I was a little half Japanese kid growing up in New Zealand, I got teased for owning cute things past the age of ten - but now I'm starting to see a lot more "Chic cute" in Western design for all age groups.