If you’re ever patted a puppy, watched a cat video on Facebook, or cooed over someone’s baby, then you are already familiar with the power of cute.
‘Cute’ not only has the power to melt hearts, it can get people to endure hardship and expense.
Ask any parent who has woken up in the middle of the night to change a nappy or comfort a colicky infant.
Baby animals have just the right features to inspire us to care for them —big heads, large eyes, little noses and puffed cheeks.
This is why WWF uses a panda as their logo, and not, for instance, the endangered Chinese giant salamander.
This is why Hello Kitty and Mickey Mouse rake in billions of dollars.
And this is why ‘baby-face’ cars like the Mini, the Beetle and the Fiat 500 are so popular.
In Japan, cuteness (kawaii) is everywhere, and Japanese businesses, big and small, use ‘cute’ to sell their products.
Even the Japanese police market themselves with a cute mascot.