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Amy Hanaiali'i Gilliom will write the music for a Hawaii tourism marketing campaign aimed at Japanese women. This is the CD cover from her latest album, "Generation Hawai'i."
Gilliom will replace Shimabukuro in Japanese tourism campaign
The music of Amy Hanaiali'i Gilliom, the top-selling female vocalist in Hawaii, will set the tone for Hawaii Tourism Japan's newest marketing campaign.
It's thought that Gilliom, a mother who represents the essence of modern Hawaii women, will hold more appeal for the next promising segment of the Japan visitor market than ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro, who has served as the spokesman for the state's visitor campaign for the last three years.
The latest Japan tourism campaign is designed to appeal to the free-spending office ladies of Hawaii's past, who spent more time in Waikiki designer boutiques than they did on the beach. Now the office lady is all grown up: She's either an established career woman with plenty of disposable income, or a wife and mother who longs to share the Hawaii experience with three generations of her family.
"Their visit isn't a repeat of what they did in their 20s when they went on wild shopping sprees," said Kiyoko Tanji, general manager of the state's Hawaii Tourism Japan. "Now, when they come, they want to go to a spa where they can relax and be healed. They don't buy as many designer goods, but they spend more money overall because of all the activities that they and their families do while they are here in Hawaii."
The campaign, run by Dentsu Inc., Japan's largest advertising agency, will communicate Hawaii through the perspective of a 30-something female tourist who finds her true self and sense of Aloha through various experiences and encounters during her visit to the islands, said Takashi Ichikura, executive director of Hawaii Tourism Japan.
While Gilliom's face won't peer out of posters in Japan's subway stations and or TV stations as Shimabukuro's once did, the music that she writes for the campaign will provide a sensory experience for listeners. Gilliom gained a following in Japan during her travels through the country. Her focus on tradition, culture and family has wide generational appeal, Tanji said.
"Her music lends an air of sophistication to Hawaii," Tanji said, adding that Gilliom is in the final stages of writing a song called "Discover Aloha," which will be used to identify the campaign. The music will have appeal for Japan's other core visitor markets in Hawaii including the silver-haired market, the romance market, the incentive market, and the multi-generational family market, she said.
Hawaii Tourism Japan is selecting an actress to be featured in TV commercials and print ads reflecting on her experiences in Hawaii as she gazes at the ocean from her lanai.
"We're not using Amy in the commercials because she is not Japanese," Tanji said. "We want visitors to be able to identify with the person. We used Jake as an image character and spokesperson because he looked Japanese and he was already very popular with that market."
Both Shimabukuro and Gilliom will join marketers to play their music for key audiences in Japan, she said.
While the campaign's focus on women will likely spur travel to Hawaii from Japan, it might not do much to enhance retail traffic in the state, said Sharon Weiner, a Hawaii Tourism Authority board member who also serves as a group vice president for the tourist-oriented retailer DFS Hawaii.
"Families are great for hotels, but not so much for retail," Weiner said. "When you have kids, you spend less on high-end products and overall retail spending goes down."
Akio Hoshino, senior vice president for Jalpak in Hawaii, said that Hawaii's hottest visitor markets from Japan are seniors, family and honeymooners.
"The market with the most potential is those were born between 1947 and 1950," Hoshino said. "They are retiring and they have more time and disposable income."
While the share of 30-to-40-year-old women coming to Hawaii from Japan is still quite small, it could gain momentum, he said.