Can Mario's image be hurt by overuse for commercial purposes? Watch this brief flash video and tell us whether you feel he's been cheapened by the extent to which he's been used to promote Japanese department store Parco.
CheapyD of CheapAssGamer.com captures our feelings best when he writes, "I'd like to think that Mario was above this sort of thing, but I guess he's not."
Then again, maybe we need to be cultural relativists. Perhaps Japanese consumers would react more favorably to this sort of tie-in and wouldn't think anything of it. After all, Hello Kitty's sweet little image has been plastered onto everything from cell phones to lingerie to tooth brushes to sex toys. Maybe it's just part of being a Japanese superstar.
You know what else is part of being a Japanese superstar? We can picture it now: Mario in a smoking jacket, snifter in hand, saying, "For good-a times, make it Suntory times."