Hello Kitty was and remains content free. This helps me understand why Lincoln's face adorns so much product.
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.