STORY’s Blair Hayes has directed a new series of ads for the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau that reveal the island paradise from an unusual point of view: a visitor’s. Conceived by Honolulu agency MVNP, the spots avoid the expected and stereotypical imagery that's often featured in travel advertising and instead seek to capture the essence of what it’s actually like to be there. Shot in as loose, improvisatory manner, the spots have the warmth of a home movie and focus on what an island vacation is really all about: having fun.
The package, which centers on the islands of Oahu and Maui, includes both broadcast and extended online media and is a sequel to a group of spots (created by MVNP and directed by Hayes) last year. One ad follows a couple as they go on a road trip through Maui’s pristine Iao Valley and stop to admire a bubbling waterfall and the clouds girding Mount Halekala. Another spot follows a young couple as they leave Waikiki to explore all that Oahu has to offer; romping on Kailua beach, biking thorough the mountainous Kualoa Ranch, and watching in awe as surfers ride 30-foot waves on the North Shore.
Hayes shot the spots with multiple handheld cameras and worked unscripted and spontaneously to make it seem almost as though the couples made them themselves. “We wanted to make it very experiential and show Hawaii in a highly personalized way,” he explains. “Hawaii is beautiful and we wanted to show its beauty, but we wanted to show it as tourists actually see it. So we didn’t only shoot at the perfect time of day. On some shoot days, the skies were overcast , which is how it is sometimes. But it’s still gorgeous.”
Hayes shot the woman bike riding, while riding a bicycle himself. He later handed her a camera to shoot her husband emerging from the ocean. “We had her shoot over her knees as he’s coming up out of the water,” Hayes says. “You see her reflection, holding the camera, in his sunglasses.”
“When you work with a small camera, the camera moves differently and you can get shots you couldn’t get with a larger camera,” Hayes adds. “It’s not perfect, but it feels more real, more like the goofy, amateurish movies people make when they’re on vacation.”
Hayes notes that the couple featured in the ads is married in real life. Using a married couple was a deliberate choice in order to heighten the sense of verisimilitude. “When people feel they are being marketed to, they’re turned off,” Hayes explains. “I think it’s important to make things that feel real and genuine.”
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Client: Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau
Agency: MVNP, Honolulu. Jenni Katinskzy, Executive Producer; Tammy Uy, Creative Director; Walter Wanger, Creative Group Head; Mike Wagner, Associate Creative Director; Jacqueline Davey, Associate Creative Director; Laura Dornbush, Senior Account Executive; Debbie Tada, Management Supervisor.
Production: STORY. Blair Hayes, director; Mark Androw and Cliff Grant, executive producers.