Archive for the ‘Hawaii TV advertising’ Category

Chinatown Tour - Part 4

June 10th, 2014
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Erdman cover

Took awhile to get to this final installment of my Chinatown tour series, but hopefully, you'll see how it all comes together. At the end of the Honolulu Exposed Red Light tour in mid-May, my wife wanted to pick up a copy of Hawaii Business magazine because an old friend of ours, Dave Erdman, was featured on the cover as their Small Business Person of the Year (click here for that article). Isabel worked with him in marketing at Tropical Rent A Car, back when I moved here in 1985.

Dave co-founded the Direct Response Advertising & Marketing Association of Hawaii (DRAMAH for short) and that's how I met Isabel -- my future wife. The guy I replaced at Oahu Bindery & Direct Mail had been talking to Dave about starting this direct marketing association, so I stepped in for him (Paul Hilker, who became a minister). Dave roped Isabel into it as well since she was assisting him at Tropical, which spawned a bunch of successful entrepreneurs before that company bit the dust. He went on to create the PacRim Marketing Group, which focused on the Japanese visitor market initially. Dave is fluent in Japanese, even though he came from the Philadelphia area. Isabel wound up starting her own small publishing company, which put out the very successful Japanese Guide to Hawaii (eventually sold to Duane Kurisu, who owns a number of Hawaii publications and businesses -- including Hawaii Business magazine). Another Tropical alumnus, Jeff Hendrix went into advertising, and formed his own award-winning agency (Hendrix Miyasaki Shin, which merged with Core Group One).

It was a fun gang to hang out with, especially since Tropical RAC had great company outer island trips because they had a lot of "trade" with travel-related partners and sponsors. I was meeting with Dave and Isabel regularly to plan our DRAMAH seminars, which brought in internationally-respected direct marketing experts through Dave's connections -- primarily his dad, the late great Ken Erdman, who was one of the best direct mail copywriters in the business. Ken's books, articles and seminar talks taught me just about everything I know in regards to copywriting. Plus, our post-DRAMAH meetings pau hana sessions at bars and business mixers Downtown, led to me getting romantically involved with Isabel. So I hold Dave largely responsible for my marriage, now going on 29 years.

DRAMAH was an important and influential development in the local advertising and marketing scene. You had the major ad agencies, smaller marketing/graphics outfits, a few independent consultants, all vying for limited advertising dollars. Direct marketing represented a major shift in thinking from mass "branding" type saturation ads (mainly print and TV commercials) to targeted data-based approaches that emphasized tailored ads and pitches. DM people really were the first to use computers and build databases that could identify markets by key demographics -- right down to income, education levels, interests and so on. Needless to say, traditional Mad Men type ad agency people were skeptical... even resistant to much of what was espoused in our DRAMAH seminars. Why, you ask?

Well, the core tenet of direct response marketing is called A/B testing. To see what message works best, you create alternate ads and in the old days, mailed out test packages to similar sample groups. For big companies, a small test mailing might be 5,000 out of a mailing list that could have hundreds of thousands of subscribers or product buyers... or donors. Ready, fire, aim. You analyze the results, fine tune, test again, and eventually do a roll-out to the entire list. But for traditional ad agencies that spend the bulk of the client's money on big ad buys in the newspaper or on TV, they really can't afford to produce multiple commercials or print ad campaigns and pass that cost along to the client. Instead, they may rely on smaller focus group testing or just present a couple of options to the client and let them guess which will work best.

Now here's where DM enters the modern age. Remember I mentioned donors lists? The man behind some of those early mailing lists, Richard Viguerie, became a major player in politics -- specifically the Republican Party. They were masters at the targeted message and building databases for fundraising, which gave them a huge edge over Democrats until the Obama campaign brought in people who understood A/B marketing. If you were on the Obama email list, you no doubt received a number of donation requests -- each one maybe slightly different in what the headline or subject line said. That's because with today's powerful database tools, they can do instantaneous testing to see which appeals generate the most response simply by tweaking a few words or images. More and more online advertisers are doing the same. And it all began with direct mail.

Anyhow, we couldn't find a single copy of that Hawaii Business magazine with Dave on the cover in Downtown Honolulu! The only magazine shop on Fort Street Mall that had it in their window was closed for the weekend. Longs didn't have it and it was just mid-month. In Kailua, we couldn't find it in Safeway or Foodland either. We had to drive to Ala Moana and get a copy from the Barnes & Noble bookstore there. When my wife used to publish her Japanese visitor guide, she would often check the street racks in Waikiki to make sure they were being kept in stock by her distribution person -- because that's what the advertisers are paying for.

So the business take-away from this simple walkabout in search of a magazine is that you can have the most sophisticated online computer tools at your disposal for market research and advertising... but if you don't get out of the office and check things with your own eyes and ears, chances are you may miss the real reason your business isn't doing better.

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For daily viewing schedules of the new July episode of Career Changers TV, please visit our website. You can also watch segments from past and current shows on the CCTV YouTube Channel, now approaching 350,000 total views for over 200 pieces we've produced. Contact me directly if you're interested in being a sponsor!

Happenstance in Chinatown

May 24th, 2014
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A writer friend I've collaborated with on a couple of screenplays posted on Facebook that a word you rarely see these days is "ubiquitous." Which seemed ironic to me, since social media forums such as FB can turn a forwarded video, photo, comment or cause into something that millions of people will see on computers, smart phones, then later on national TV shows, even local morning news spots about today's "Viral Video" or "Trends & Talkers" segments. It's everywhere you look -- ubiquitous, in other words.

And since I'm in the media biz, writing scripts for TV/movie projects, plus producing a local OC16 television show that often features newsworthy people, my life is filled with moments of convergence... a surreal blend of real life merging with online interactions, nationally-broadcast TV shows, and live local news programming. One day I'm interviewing a subject for Career Changers or blogging about it in the Star-Advertiser, the next day or on the evening KHON News, I'm watching that same person talk about their biz or responding to complaints (like the new vertical wind tunnel at The Groove Hawaii, which is on this month's show). Then I hit play on my DVR, and see another familiar face appearing on a Food Network or History Channel show after we had them on Career Changers awhile back. A week or two later, I run into the same person(s) while out and about looking for my next story, completing the Circle of Media Life.

That just happened to me again this past week. I bought discounted Groupon tickets for the Honolulu Exposed Red Light Tour because I had never heard of it before, and it sounded interesting: take a walk through the seedy side of history in Downtown Honolulu and Chinatown. Having researched stuff like opium dens, brothels, small pox outbreaks and other unsavory elements of Hawaii's past for scripts I was working on, this sounded like something right up my alley. Also, I wondered why no one else had offered this type of tour -- there were ghost tours, walking tours that focus on architecture, straight G-rated history, but nothing that included places like Club Hubba Hubba or the infamous Glades (btw, local filmmaker Connie Florez is producing a documentary about that... click here for details).

Now bear with me, because this trip down the rabbit hole interweaves a few seemingly-unrelated threads that all come together in the end. Last Saturday, my wife and I arrive at the Hawaii Theater where the Red Light tour starts at 9:30 AM. But we're early and having driven from Kailua after a couple of cups of coffee, need to find a restroom. Back in January 2012, my show was the first to air Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock's plans for a badly-need public restroom, which her Chinatown biz organization had raised money for. However, the experimental toilet program didn't receive enough funding to continue, ergo no place for us -- or other locals, visitors and of course, the ubiquitous homeless people -- to relieve ourselves. The closest coffee shops weren't open at that time, so my wife wound up walking down to the police station.

While waiting for Isabel to return, I nervously observed a rail-thin, wasted-looking woman growling and yelling madly at whoever walked past her across the street from me. She was scary, to put it mildly. On the way to the theater meeting spot, my wife and I had to stroll past smelly, filthy homeless men and women on just about every street and occupying every open space around the Hawaii Theater area. I'm not making any judgments -- just telling you what we experienced. What the solution is, I don't even know where to start. Wait, check that. I do know where to begin: by talking about creative approaches that involve partnerships between private interests and public services. I'll eventually get to that.

Anyway, our walkabout in search of a simple toilet answered one of my questions. Q: Why didn't anyone do a Red Light tour before? A: Who the heck wants to come down to stinky, dirty Chinatown in the morning, when you can't even find a public restroom or place to sit peacefully without mentally-ill people accosting you and getting right in your face! Still, having lived in New York City years ago, I've seen worse. Later, the tour guides said hotel concierges won't send visitors to the Chinatown area because of the homeless problem, so that's a major obstacle for their new venture to overcome.

First tour coincidence: the couple who run the Honolulu Exposed tour (click here for their Facebook link) arrive while Isabel is still on her bathroom run, and tell me they just moved here about four months ago and used to work for the Seattle Underground tour. I'm stunned because I had just pitched a TV series idea to the writer friend I mentioned up top, about how the Seattle Underground came into being after a huge fire destroyed much of downtown Seattle, which was originally built at sea level and prone to flooding. This was in the late 1800s. So city leaders figured it was a good time to rebuild the area higher. But cash-strapped biz owners who couldn't afford to go along with the plan, continued running their businesses while the new streets and sidewalks were constructed several feet above their storefronts. Eventually, to stop pedestrians from accidentally falling off the newly-elevated sidewalks, the city built right over the old buildings, creating an underground city where the dregs of society settled. Criminals, prostitutes, scammers, the homeless, all congregated down there. Meanwhile, the Yukon gold rush resulted in many fortune seekers coming to Seattle to deposit their newfound wealth -- making them ripe pickings for crooks. I learned all that from watching a Travel Channel show called "Hotel Secrets and Legends."

As it happens, when I told Clinton and Carter (she's an actress, although the name combo sounds like a Dem presidential ticket from the past) about my TV series idea, they looked at each other and said Clinton was working on a screenplay about little-known stories related to the Seattle Underground. However, he hasn't had much experience writing for TV or movies... and I have won a few awards, was repped by a semi-famous Hollywood manager, had scripts optioned, etc.

In fact, last week  I got word I'm a Top 10 Finalist in the Industry Insider contest, which spawned two prior winners who have gone on to major success: that new sci-fi series "Extant" starring Halle Berry in the ubiquitous CBS commercial spots; and a movie in the works called "The Disciple Program," starring Mark Wahlberg, landed on the vaunted Black List for unproduced scripts in 2012 after winning the Insider contest. So I'm in pretty good company just to make the finalist cut, and I'm thinking this Seattle Underground connection timing could be fortuitous if I happen to win and get some Hollywood heat. The tour hasn't even started, and already things look promising.

Just then, Isabel returns and says, "Look who's here!"

To be continued...

 

 

Menehunes Hoax, Miscellaneous News

August 26th, 2013
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Thanks to the internet and YouTube, this blog and video segments from my Career Changers TV show has led to contacts from all over the globe. TV producers from the Discovery Channel, Travel Channel, and Food Network have either emailed me or been in touch with people who appeared on CCTV to do their own pieces for national audiences. Sometimes they use my stuff as research or backstory, which is cool. But last week I got a good laugh when I opened this email:

Hello, Rich - I am a researcher with a television production company located in Hampton, Virginia called m2 Pictures. We produce a documentary-style series for the Destination American Channel called “Monsters and Mysteries in America.” Within each episode of this series, we explore accounts of monstrous and mysterious happenings throughout the United States.

In our research, we recently came across reported encounters with the Menehune, and were interested in featuring those stories in one of our upcoming episodes. In each episode we invite locals, experts, and those who have personal encounters to participate in on-camera interviews to help us tell the most complete and accurate story of each paranormal phenomenon. I recently came across an article you wrote for the Star Advertiser discussing the potential discovery of a Menehune Village by photographer Ann Thompson. I was wondering if you might be interested in speaking with me about your knowledge of the Menehune?

She was referring to my Star-Advertiser blog that was posted on April 1 (this one). Somehow, the date didn't tip her off that it was a prank (and a plug for my unproduced family/adventure script based on the Menehune myths and legends). After I replied to her, she wrote back that she felt a "bit foolish," but took it all in good spirits. What's more, she was going to follow up on some of my other suggested contacts who may wind up on that TV show to talk about their paranormal encounters.

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Speaking of local connections that have appeared on nationally-broadcast shows, I ran into Camille Komine of Camille's on Wheels food truck fame, at the annual Kailua Racquet Club Doubles Tournament last month. If you follow her on Twitter, you might have noticed she hasn't been Tweeting much about where she'll be next. That's because the club hired her to do their food service for  KRC members and tournament sponsors' dinners, which was a big hit. She's also been doing more private catering. In fact, she said Heidi Klum requested her to do all the cooking for Heidi's entourage when she was here in April (and got attention for saving her son from drowning). That was no April Fool's joke.

Camille has been featured on a couple of Food Network and Cooking Channel shows. The one she really enjoys talking about is Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, otherwise known as Triple D. According to her, Guy's research staff does a very thorough job of vetting possible candidates for the program, and she was certain that the piece we did on her for Career Changers TV helped convince them she would be good on camera. Here's that video link from our growing YouTube archives.

I asked if the Kailua Racquet Club experience has given her the itch to open her own full-fledged restaurant. She smiled and said there are no immediate plans, but I got the feeling that if the right location comes along at the right time, we may see her trade in her wheels for something with four walls and a door.

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Also, keep your eyes open for a favorite of local foodies making their own move from farmers markets and pop-up kitchens to a new home once occupied by Pacific Gateway Center's Lemongrass Cafe on North King Street near Chinatown. Due to budget cutbacks, PGC is moving their offices to their Kalihi kitchen incubator location, and renting out the N. King Street space to bring in more revenue. An announcement should be coming in the next week or two about the new restaurant that I think is going to excite many folks.

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You can still catch the August episode of Career Changers TV daily on OC16 until Sat., Sept. 7. Click here for viewing times and links to the CCTV YouTube Channel. Got more great stories for September, including some scoops you won't see anywhere else. BTW, I'm lining up sponsors for the big Halloween show and Christmas episode, so send me an email if you're interested in advertising!

'Bows Should Try Hypnotherapy

December 31st, 2012
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Watching the UH men's basketball team shoot fouls has been painful. Missed free throws has already cost them games and the Bows nearly lost another one this weekend when they only made 16 of 31 from the so-called "charity line." The Wahine hoopsters might have beaten Alabama this weekend, had they sunk a couple more foul shots too. Since it's a given they probably take hundreds of shots in practice, what's the problem?

I think it's mostly mental. Studies have shown that positive visualization in sports can lead to improved performance. "See" the proper tennis stroke or golf putt in your mind, and brainwaves show the same activity as if the person was doing it for real. Perhaps, seeing other players miss shots in pressure situations becomes contagious because the next guy to shoot is subconsciously altering his own mechanics to avoid putting up a brick. Throughout the young season thus far, the Bows have gone through patches where no one seems to be able to get the ball to fall through the rim... it's like a magic shield goes up around the basket. Fans begin to expect them to miss, and you can hear the groans in the arena when the contagion causes them to blow wide open shots and easy lay-ups.

A few years back, Riley Wallace used to have two sports psychologists work with his teams. I don't know if they ever employed hypnotherapy or visualization techniques, but Coach Arnold should consider giving it a shot (pun intended). Hypnotherapy isn't hocus pocus -- it's even used in medicine to treat pain these days, according to Mindy Ash, who we featured on Career Changers TV in July. Here's the link to that segment. Give her a call, Gib! Heck, when a Division I team barely makes 50 percent of their free throws, trying something new can't hurt.

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On a related sports note, former UH football great Ashley Lelie is getting married today. I got that news firsthand while I was filming a new segment for CCTV sponsor, Argosy University at their Downtown campus on Bishop Street. He was there with fiancee Noza Yusufbekova, an Argosy grad student in their clinical psychology program, who we first interviewed in this segment. Noza is smart, charming, and very attractive, to state the obvious. And I have to say Ashley is a genuinely humble guy. Congrats to both of them! One thing is for sure: it will be much easier for me to spell Noza's last name in the lower third graphics that go on screen.

Our January episode features new pieces on architects, the fashion biz, art and more. The 2013 kick-off show premieres Saturday at 8:30 pm on OC16. For daily viewing times throughout the week, please visit www.CareerChangers.TV. You can also watch segments from past and current episodes on the CCTV YouTube Channel. Happy New Years!

Wither Twitter, Social Media?

September 4th, 2012
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Somewhat related to my last post on Good PR/Bad PR, is the idea of using social media for public relations and marketing. Two years ago, when I first started producing the Career Changers TV show for OC16, it was the hot new thing -- you just had to try Twitter and get on the Facebook bandwagon! Seminars were springing up all over the place to guide old fogies like me through the Brave New World of social media, with consultants showing how your business could Tweet its way to success. Blogging was so yesterday.

At first, I was interested in Twitter's potential. I could see how people and businesses might use it to build audiences or reward followers with special offers without having to spend a lot of money on traditional advertising. Facebook was more of a place to reconnect with old friends and acquaintances I had lost touch with long ago. It was almost surreal hearing from people I vaguely knew in high school or college, who now wanted to be "friends" even though we had little in common. Yet I was curious to read what others were up to, and would check my FB page throughout the day... at first, that is.

Eventually, I stopped checking Facebook and my Twitter feed. Some Tweeters would suddenly fill the page with a torrent of Tweets, usually about nothing much, before disappearing back into the void. Many just re-Tweeted postings from wittier people or shared oddball stuff. There were some useful links to blogs and articles that I did want to read, but it was getting to be a chore sifting through the twaddle. Ironically, the more people I "connected" with via social media, the less I cared about their daily doings and thoughts. The world became smaller, less mysterious. Instant access = instant distance from the "real" physical place we live and work in, paradoxically making me feel more disconnected as I scroll through Tweets and Facebook status updates.

Apparently, I'm not alone in that sentiment. Surveys show "Facebook fatigue" is spreading, with one in three saying they've gotten bored with social media. Here's the link to that article, which doesn't really say much... in fact, it's the sort of thing bloggers would have had a field day with back when blogging was in vogue. Have you noticed a lot of your old bookmarked blogs are defunct now, or posts have become more infrequent? The truth is very few who blog actually make any money from their efforts, so it becomes a slog after awhile to keep providing fresh content for readers who don't want to pay for content. Me, I do it primarily to promote my TV show. It's free advertising, in other words.

As for following me on Twitter or Facebook, eh, not really worth it. I rarely feel I have anything to add that is going to change anyone's mind about the Big Issues of the day. If anything, social media merely enforces what one already believes by connecting you to like-minded people, who "unfriend" those who don't think the same way... heck, I do it too rather than get in pointless online arguments with people I haven't seen in 20-30 years.

Perhaps, the best thing about Facebook is it makes me appreciate my life here more. The grass really is greener on this side of the ocean, and affirms what we all know: lucky you live Hawaii.

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The new September episode premiere last Saturday night got bumped due to high school football, but you can still see it on other days and nights! Viewing times are listed on www.CareerChangers.TV and segments from past episodes are posted on the CCTV YouTube Channel. If you ask me, YouTube has been the biggest game changer for new marketing/advertising strategies.