You might be familiar with Ronald McDonald by McDonald’s, Julio Pringles by Pringles or Chester Cheetah by Cheetos.
What do all of these have in common?
If you guessed brand mascots, you’re correct.
Smiles Mobile Remittance, the number one international mobile money transfer service in Japan and 2021 Good Design Award winner, has a special mascot that may capture your heart: Tori!
What is Tori exactly and what’s so grand about him? Read more to find out.
Born in 2017 in Tokyo, Japan, Tori was introduced at the launch of Smiles Mobile Remittance in the same year. It’s common for Japanese companies to have a mascot for customers to connect with a product or service on a deeper level.
The first group of team members at Smiles was looking for a company mascot that would be easy to understand, gives off a warm and friendly vibe and represents migration to associate with migrant workers.
Most of the customers of Smiles are migrant workers who have traveled outside of their home country to find a new place to live and return to their families. Likewise, migratory birds fly thousands of miles every year to live and reunite with their family. They also have the vitality and courage to overcome difficulties and hardship, and they explore the globe with family and their loved ones.
Smiles cherishes and respects every unique background and story of international citizens who are miles away from their homes. In order to show appreciation, connect with them and link to the service’s slogan, “Smiles across the miles,” Smiles came up with Tori.
The design team came up with a small, fluffy, white bird with bushy eyebrows, three little feathers sticking out from the top of his head and adorable dotted eyes. Tori also has strong wings that will take him anywhere around the world.
Over time, however, the character started to evolve. No one seems to know the reason behind its evolution, but now it has become round and its wings became smaller which makes it look like it can’t fly anymore. Rumor has it that the pandemic made him gain some extra weight.
On the bright side, adjustments are planned to be made to show the speed of transactions through the Smiles app and represent the strength of the business.
Tori is a Japanese word read and written as “鳥” in kanji and translates to “bird” in English. The word is quite general so it was fitting for Smiles’ mascot, as he is not a specific species of bird.
Tori is everywhere! He’s on the app icon…
Even all over our SNS channels!
Just last year, in 2021, Tori’s face and the app design won the Good Design Award 2021 in Japan which was a major achievement. Good Design Award is only rewarded to products with advanced functionality and design. Large and well-known companies like Sony Corporation and Panasonic Corporation also won the prestigious award.
We praise our little Tori. He may be small, but he’s mighty (and full of love).