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Hawaiian Airlines has come up with a great way to whet its passengers’ appetites for a visit to the tropics. Through Sept. 30, it’s running a sneak preview of the new "Hawaii Five-O" television show on its trans-Pacific flights. Fresh off the plane, I’m excited about what I saw.
After watching the hour-long pilot — a modern-day remake of the late 1960s-’70s Honolulu crime drama series that brought Hawaii into homes around the world — I’m convinced that it’s a mammoth marketing tool for the islands. I’ll go so far as to say that, if the show catches on, it might even help travel agents sell more Hawaii vacations.
The opening credits, an eye-popping montage of island beauty, waste no time establishing a sense of place. There are images of famous landmarks such as Diamond Head, the USS Arizona Memorial, Punchbowl and the King Kamehameha statue, interspersed with shots of girls in bikinis, surfers, fire dancers, palm trees and big waves, not to mention a glimpse of a colorful Hawaiian Airlines plane in flight, all of which tells viewers exactly where the story is set.
The pilot introduces viewers to the characters from the original show, including Steve McGarrett, Dan “Danno” Williams and Chin Ho Kelly, and there are the requisite gun fights and chase scenes. But the real stars are the constant visuals that whisk mainland viewers along sandy strands of beach, follow carefree locals as they frolic in the ocean and showcase surfers hanging ten off Waikiki. The natural colors of Hawaii — aquamarine seas, emerald cliffs, sugar-white beaches — are played to the hilt. And of course, viewers see plenty of sexy islanders in bathing suits. What winter-weather-weary client wouldn’t want to drop everything and join them?
A couple of times, the show almost feels like a Hawaii promotional pitch crafted by marketing wizards. At one point, McGarrett gives the Kahala Hotel a plug, saying it has a great pool and a lagoon where guests can swim with dolphins. In another scene, he and Danno stand in the sunshine, each holding a thirst-quenching shave ice, something almost every visitor wants to do. As the duo drives along scenic, oceanside highways, I’m imagining island-based car rental companies cheering in anticipation of increased bookings. All of which are great, in my book. Why not promote what you’ve got, and on primetime television, no less?
As Blaine Miyasato, Hawaiian’s vice president of product development, puts it: “This show will be a beautiful visual showcase for what makes the Hawaiian Islands such an enticing place to see and visit.”
To underscore its support of the new show, the carrier is giving its 4,000 employees a new "Hawaii Five-O" ringtone to download on their cell phones.
So, here’s a mahalo (thank you) to Hawaiian Airlines for once again displaying its signature aloha spirit as it shares the new show with its passengers.
Clients can see the "Hawaii Five-O" sneak preview on flights between Hawaii and 10 gateway cities in the Western U.S. — Los Angeles; San Francisco; Oakland, Calif.,; San Jose, Calif.; Sacramento; San Diego; Seattle; Portland; Phoenix; and Las Vegas — as well as four international destinations, Manila, the Philippines; Sydney, Australia; American Samoa; and Tahiti, French Polynesia.
For people who aren’t flying on Hawaiian Airlines this month, the new Hawaii Five-O premieres on Sept. 20 on CBS. Travel agents should tell their clients to tune in. It might just bring them more business.