Erika Engle

But Okaasan, I
really want to visit
the Big Island

THE Big Island Visitors Bureau took a lesson from Post, Kellogg's and General Mills, and is marketing Hawaii to Japanese children, as reported in Friday's Star-Bulletin business section.

It's like any kid-aimed advertising on Cartoon Network -- or during Saturday morning cartoons in the old days -- only the product the kids will be pleading and crying for and throwing tantrums to get will cost slightly more.

"We know from information gathered from our BIVB members that Japanese children influence their family vacation destination decisions," said Margo Mau, director of sales and marketing for Japan and Asia. "We want to capitalize on this untapped market during Japan's peak travel season."

The Web site is being marketed via kids' magazines, newspapers, radio and links elsewhere on the Internet.

"The Japanese are trying to tell parents that family time is important, that it's not just school, school, school," she said.

Children taken out of school for vacations often have to write a report about their trip, which is a prime reason the site is packed with easy-to-find facts about Hawaii's mountains, flora, fauna and stargazing.

It is challenging to surf the mostly Japanese language site, but it is still navigable with a click by the word "Kids" on the main page.

The site is designed for children 3 to 10 years old, but a game where players have to match a card featuring an animal picture -- to another card bearing its name in English and Japanese -- draws a slightly older audience in Hawaii.

"Even my staff plays it," Mau said, clearly leaning away from the phone and speaking louder for her colleagues' benefit. "'Cause we have to test it," she laughed.

On the 'Net: www.hawaiibigisland.jp (click next to "Kids.")

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: eengle@starbulletin.com

| | |
E-mail to Business Desk


© Honolulu Star-Bulletin -- https://archives.starbulletin.com