AIG isn’t only company that hides Hawaii
Welcome to the Tuesday Lite Notebook, where we put our shoulder to the wheel, nose to the grindstone and sacroiliac to a gas-powered weed eater to bring you the freshest and most recently picked items of interest in the world of news.
» I reported last week that the near collapse of insurance giant AIG might have been psychic retaliation for portraying Hanauma Bay in a travel magazine as the most dangerous beach in the world. AIG officials claimed they thought the beach in the ad was a "generic Caribbean beach" that some advertising agency had pulled from a photo library. My contention: The fact that AIG couldn't recognize one of the most famous (and safest) beaches in the world was an early warning that AIG was facing some serious management problems. In that column I said the U.S. government has agreed to bail out the insurance company to the tune of $85 million. That clearly was the wrong tune because $85 million wouldn't bail out two Wal-Marts and a lunch wagon. The actual amount the government is paying to save AIG is $85 quatrokazillionjillion. Or maybe just $85 billion. Sorry. Big numbers confuse me.
» After what happened to AIG, you have to wonder whether other companies that mislead the public in advertisements featuring Hawaii landmarks but claim they are something else will suffer the same fate. Remember the AT&T television commercial in which Bill Kurtis claims to have found the Internet on a deserted island, but you can clearly see Diamond Head in the background? Now AT&T is running a TV ad supposedly at a nude beach in Spain. But with Rabbit Island clearly in the background, it's obvious the commercial was shot at Makapuu Beach. A reader suggested the reason companies like AT&T "inadvertently" leave recognizable Hawaii landmarks in commercials that purport to show other locations is that they have to in order to reap the benefits of using Hawaii's Act 221 tax-incentive program.
» Speaking of AT&T commercials shot in Hawaii, Bill Kurtis e-mailed me about the problems they had shooting the "Fountain of Youth" ad at the Marriott Ihilani resort. He said the production company built a fake Mayan temple with a 20-foot waterfall but didn't calculate the tides and within an hour it washed away.
Hawaii builder David Verbeck, who helped create the temple, took offense to that. He wrote me: "The reason the tide eventually ended the shot was because the director kept taking the same shot over and over again despite the elderly and child actors getting exhausted and knocked over by the waves. We were lucky no one was seriously injured that day."
Verbeck says the remains of the Fountain of Youth ironically are "somewhere in one of our landfills."
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