Lincoln bric-a-brac: some ideas

It's the 40th anniversary of Hello Kitty and the various writings on the subject, from scholarly papers to marketing analyses, miss the really big point about this little emblem. Hello Kitty was and is a floating signifier. So,
Hello Kitty doesn’t have a body of film work or comic strips that define her character in a meaningful sense such as Mickey Mouse and Snoopy. She is like a mirror, reflecting back any desires or feelings you project upon the character
Hello Kitty was and remains content free. This helps me understand why Lincoln's face adorns so much product.

For the broad masses, Lincoln suggests no more than "good guy" or "president whatever." At the same time, the hat and beard are "branded." The Lincoln image offers manufacturers a royalty free, license free trademark.

Hello Kitty went through stages.
In 1962, Shintaro Tsuji, founder of Sanrio, began selling rubber sandals with flowers painted on them. Tsuji noted the profits gained by adding a cute design to the sandals and hired cartoonists to design cute characters for his merchandise.
This early phase in Hello Kitty's development seems to be where things are with the Hello Abe franchise. Hello Abe has had much time to go beyond this point but remains in plastic sandals, as it were.

In summary, Lincoln imagery offers free branding. The buyer projects something from within onto the meaningless but "cute design" of Lincoln's image. A transaction results.

It has taken me a long time to work this one out.