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New car antenna ball features 'Warrior Jack'


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POSTED: Friday, July 10, 2009

He's a far cry from Vili Fehoko, the face-painted, ti leaf skirt-wearing, on-field booster, but you'll soon be seeing the new, world's smallest University of Hawaii Warrior football supporter everywhere — atop car antennas and affixed anywhere a plastic suction cup can adhere.

The University of Hawaii Warrior Jack antenna ball bounced onto the market yesterday at all 26 Jack in the Box restaurants around the state, according to Media Relations Manager, Kathleen Anthony in San Diego.

Guests ordering a large combo meal receive the antenna ball free, as has been the case with the restaurant's other antenna balls created in Jack's likeness. Those are generally made available at the chain's 2,180 restaurants in 18 states. This one, however, is available only in Hawaii.

“;The new Warrior Jack antenna ball is the perfect team mascot,”; said Donna Yano, vice president for Jack in the Box Hawaii. “;Whether you're cruising around town or hosting a pregame tailgate party, the Warrior Jack antenna ball shows you're a true fan wherever you go.”;

Chris Scanlan, owner of 25 of Hawaii's 26 restaurants, approached the chain with the idea.

“;I told you a while ago we were going to start localizing,”; he said.

It is not the first market-specific antenna ball.

“;In years past we offered a series of antenna balls featuring NFL and MLB sports teams, (such as the) San Diego Padres,”; Anthony said. “;However, I believe this is our first antenna ball to feature a college team ... and we are not currently offering antenna balls featuring collegiate teams in other markets.”;

If there is an official Jack antenna ball archive online, it was not easy to find.

An unrelated site by a San Francisco-based antenna ball collector includes just such an archive, however.

It is rife with Jack in the Box antenna balls, the original version, seasonal editions and team-boosting balls bearing Jack's likeness, wearing MLB and NFL helmets.

Jack in the Box has also done fundraising antenna balls for Big Brothers Big Sisters, raising $365,000 at $1 a head, er, ball.

The first game of the UH season is Sept. 4, but the Warrior Jack giveaway is under way because of the buildup of preseason excitement.

“;We know the excitement as tickets are going on sale,”; Yano said. “;The excitement starts well before the first game, and we wanted to be part of that. UH football is huge in Hawaii, and our guests, as well as our team members, are UH fans, so there's no better way to show our support for UH.”;

Yano expects demand will be high.

“;We're encouraging everyone to make sure they go out and get the ball early,”; she said. “;We're anticipating they'll go very quick.”;

There are 22 Jack in the Box restaurants on Oahu and three on Maui owned by Scanlan.

The Hilo store, owned by Wayne Suzuki, is also participating in the promotion, Anthony said.

There are no restaurants on Kauai, and again, Warrior Jack is not available on the mainland, so it is likely many will be grabbed up locally for mailing to neighbor island and mainland ohana.

“;That's why we're thinking the balls are going to go quickly,”; Yano chuckled.

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Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Reach her by e-mail at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).