The complete history of NHK’s Domo in the United States

I miss the simplistic little brown monster, Domo. I compiled a blog post of all the cool inclusions that Domo experienced thus Far. Domo’s use in marketing in the United State’s ended abruptly in 2016.

Who is DOMO?

Domo-Kun was a mascot that was created for Japan’s public broadcaster NHK. Domo was created in 1998 by Tsuneo Gōda for the 10th anniversary of NHK’s satellite broadcasting. Domo is commonly Known for his antics in stop-motion shorts. He was designed to be a simple furry brown monster with a mouth locked wide open. The name Domo came about when a TV announcer said “dōmo, konnichiwa” (どーも、こんにちは), which is a greeting that can be translated as “Well, hello there!”, and can also be interpreted as “Hello, Domo”. This convenient pun was what created world play for the character’s official name.

How or why did Domo Kun become popular?

A user Chris Darden created the iconic caption to an image of 2 Domos chasing a kitten in 2002. This quickly became a popular meme during the early 2000s. It wasn’t until Domo’s promotional use with companies like Target and 7-Eleven did the character begin to be recognized by the general masses. It is unclear what NHK’s (Domo’s Creators) plans are for Domo as their social’s are all abandoned currently.

DOMO-Kun's Angry Smashfest!

A fan-made flash game found on Newgrounds. Published on December 16th, 2002. It uses the intellectual IP of the Powerpuff Girls and Domo. Remember this is Unofficial and was another source for American users to get familiar with Domo. It has been viewed over 2.6 Million times.

DOMO Meets Target promotion

Big Tent Entertainment (The worldwide Licensee for Domo) aimed to bring Domo to the west all the way back in 2003 but Gōda was reluctant to partner with companies when using the likeness of Domo, fearing that Domo’s likeness outside of japan would be abysmal. It wasn’t until the collaboration with Target that Tsuneo Gōda felt the excitement to deliver on Domo. Originally he was terrified of any collaboration as he stated it was “really difficult to balance the popularity” while also “keeping the core fans” happy but “When we saw the target store in Portland and saw Domo surrounded by all that American stuff, I was so happy“. – Tsuneo Gōda

The Domo Collaboration was something that as a kid that I wished I was an adult for because there was so many cool products during the Halloween season of 2008. I wasn’t the only one as many felt that the collaboration was at poor timing since many were kids too. I dressed up as Domo for Halloween in 2009 and like many others, Domo was just a simple and iconic character that made it easy to replicate and want to dress up as him.

Why did this collaboration even happened? It seemed that Target was just handed the idea by a graphic design studio. Edwards & Company, are a collective of individuals skilled in Branding, design for retail and advertising. Led by Bruce Edwards the team message for Domo’s collaboration with Target’s brand was to set “Target apart from their competitors, while also capturing shoppers’ interest Enter the Japanese animated monster Domo. Already lovable, we dressed him up in Halloween costumes, and his appeal went off the charts. He became the mascot of the season, showing up throughout the store from the candy and costume aisles to home decor and pet products, and proving to customers that Target was the one-stop shop for Halloween goods. The results? Well, they were scary good. The furry brown monster became an internet sensation, and stores couldn’t keep exclusive Domo products on the shelves, with most selling out within a week. Which all helped Target enjoy one of the best Halloween seasons in a decade.” – Bruce Edwards

The Domo 7-Eleven promotion

Big Tent Entertainment continued to cross promote Domo with a new promotional event. This time with 7-eleven for 4th Quarter of 2009. Promotional adverts and displays could be seen all around convenience stores. Shoppers could buy merchandise, from collectables to Slurpee cups and straws with flocked Domos mounted onto the collectible Slurpee Staws. 7-Eleven also offered Domo DVDs, action figures, and Manga comic books. Life sized Domo displays on end caps carried candy products and other grab and go goodies. it was a dream for fans of Domo. Coca-Cola even had a Fanta red apple Fuji Frost Slurpee drink flavor.

“Because Domo has such a hugely devoted, cult-like following among kids, teens and young adults, we believe he’s a perfect match for 7-Eleven and its iconic Slurpee brand,” –Big Tent Chief Executive Officer Rich Collins

We brought Domo to life at 7-Eleven in one of 2009’s most talked about promotions. To build anticipation for the launch, we released a series of teasers in Japanese characters that, once translated, eluded to Domo’s arrival. Once the promotion hit stores, it was difficult to keep items in stock. Everything from collectible cups and straws to a limited-edition manga comic book were snatched up at record pace. The campaign was featured in Creativity Online’s Top 5 (10/12/09), Adweek, Brand Freak, Business Week and numerous other media outlets.

As part of the campaign, my copywriting partner and I worked with Tsuneo Goda and Dwarf, Inc., the Tokyo-based creators of Domo, to produce Domo Gets a Brainfreeze, a three-part series of original webisodes that married the lighthearted personalities of both brands. –Craig Bradley

To keep with Domo’s heritage, the character received stop-motion shorts in collaboration with 7-Eleven. Target also saw simliar shorts made for its respective brand. These Videos are available to watch on Domo’s YouTube channel.

DOMO airs on Nickelodeon

In 2009, Nickelodeon would run episodes of Domo on their NickToons Network. Exposing kids to Domo-Kun. Episodes were the exact same that could be found today on the official YouTube channel.

Dark Horse Comics

Dark Horse, working with Big Tent Entertainment and the NHK broadcasting corporation, brought Domo-kun, a popular Japanese cult-icon character, to the United States, with a series of products ranging from Qee figurines to journals and stationery sets. Dark Horse now sells over thirty-five different Domo-themed products, available in stores nationwide. Dark Horse History

Taco Bell Kids Meal Toys

This was a very under-promoted collaboration. In 2010 Tacobell Kid’s meals, you could find the following Domo toys: Media holder, Picture frame, Sticker dispenser, Alternate picture frame, and Mini manga. If you have any Information and images of this collaboration, email our team!

Sony's Free Realms

Free Realms was a massively multiplayer online (MMO) role-playing video game developed by Sony Online Entertainment for PC and PlayStation 3. Within the game, Starting in 2010, Domo was available as a purchasable pet pal. He was also seen as an untitled NPC at the location, Sanctuary. Players could also buy in-game items to wear items like a Domo hat or backpack.

DOMO Video Games

Domo has 5 video games on the DSiWare on the Nintendo DSi Shop application for the Nintendo DSi. The 5 games are Crash-Course Domo, Hard-Hat Domo, Rock-n-Roll Domo, Pro-Putt Domo and White-Water Domo. The Game Boy Advance game Domo-kun no Fushigi Terebi also features Domo-kun. On Facebook, Domo is featured in the social game Planet Domo. I found one Domo flashgame on Blue Maxima’s Flashpoint  Domo-Kun’s Angry Smashfest – Created in 2002! Konami also help publish the IOS game, Domo Jump!

It is worth mentioning the video game Garry’s Mod offers a  service for users to create custom maps for the Steam Workshop. Among many is a popular 7-Eleven Roleplay map  gm_7eleven includes the same promotional artwork for Domo-Kun.*

Swag Era DOMO

In 2011, swag culture was a trend characterized by a confident and stylish attitude, especially among young people. It involved a distinctive fashion style, including snapback caps, graphic T-shirts, skinny jeans, and high-top sneakers. Accessories like oversized watches and backpacks were popular, and hairstyles often featured quiffs and fades. The culture was heavily influenced by hip-hop music, with celebrities like Lil Wayne and Kanye West setting the tone. The term “swag” was commonly used to describe the overall stylish and confident demeanor. Overall, swag culture in 2011 was about expressing individuality, embracing bold fashion choices, and projecting a laid-back and confident attitude. Domo was evidently thrown into the fray with people dressing their Domo plushes with snap backs and glasses.

Zwinky x DOMO

Around July 2011, you could get Domo items for your in game Zwinky character. The Domo items released alongside a Garfield collection. [source] Zwinky was a virtual world and social networking site that gained popularity in the mid-2000s. It was launched in 2006 and Zwinky allowed users to create and customize cartoon-like avatars, decorate virtual spaces, play games, and interact with other users in a virtual environment. It is Defunct today.

DOMO x DC / Funko

In 2013, Funko released a line of Domo figures in a mashup with the DC Universe. You could purchase figures in small blind bag boxes or in the more traditional Funko Pop boxes.

DOMO x Ghostbusters

Similar to the DC collaboration. This time in 2014, NHK and Big Tent partnered with Columbia Pictures to release Funko pops and plushies.

Big Tent’s DOMO embarks on first summer tour (Van's Warp Tour)

New York’s Big Tent Entertainment toured on Domo’s first-ever US summer tour. The furry pop culture character made appearances at Spencer’s retail stores, at music festivals (Vans Warped Tour, Outside Lands Festival, Sunset Strip Festival), and acclaimed street artists Swank One and Teknyc created Domo-inspired murals which was created in L.A. and San Francisco. This tour took place around 2012-2013.

“The Vans Warped Tour speaks directly to a core demo of fans that share a love for Domo. We’re asking fans to Get Warped with Domo, and will create a seamless platform for them to interact and share Domo experiences on the tour. Don’t be surprised if you see Domo pop up on other stages throughout the festival–he’s kind of unpredictable.” Rich Maryyanek, chief marketing officer, Big Tent

Domo: The Journey Mobile phone game

Domo: The Journey was an early app store game from 2013 created by Playlithium and Horse Feathers. It used an onscreen directional interface to control Domo. It’s a 2D sidescroller similar to games like Super Mario Bros.

Domo Jump Mobile phone game

Domo Jump plays exactly like the Doodle Jump genre of games, where your main goal is to go as high as you can without falling. It was released on July 18th, 2013 by developer Kung Fu Factory, and published by Konami. Giantbomb

DOMO 4 President

As of 2023, Domo 4 President was the Last official Domo webseries of YouTube videos Parodying a presidential election. Each of the 18 videos in the series help to flesh out Domo’s character history and lore behind who he is as a character. After September 22nd, 2016 the YouTube channel has halted uploads with their channel banner still promoting the 2016 Domo 4 President series. Other awesome episodic projects on the channel include the Domo’s Office Space webseries and the Original Stop motion content by Tsuneo Gōda.

DOMO in Automotive Car Culture

The Dark Age for the Domo Brand. Car culture has been recently using the likeness of Domo to create and sell simple decals and products for those who enjoy the Character. Many of these products are sourced from Ali Express or 3rd Party sellers on Amazon and are not official. It is easy for members of the car community to pair this with Japanese domestic motor cars, and his simplistic design lends itself well for adding custom detail to a project car.

Tsuneo Goda's next projects

Tsuseno Goda appears to have moved on to create newer concepts as his IMDb shows. His two biggest projects after Domo being Komaneko which was a japanese stop motion animation centered around a curious cat. Then adapted into The Curious Kitty & Friends An Amazon created show for the west on the cat, Komaneko.

Google Trends paints the simplest picture for Domo, with the character seeing huge success towards the beginning and then massive spikes with the 2 big promotions from Target and 7-Eleven. To make matters worse, a competing-name company: Domo, Inc. An American cloud software company based in American Fork, Utah, United States. It specializes in business intelligence tools and data visualization. The complete opposite of our beloved DOMO-KUN.

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