Musician's deal pays $90,000
By Kelly Yamanouchi
Advertiser Staff Writer
|Hawai'i Tourism Japan launched its marketing campaign earlier this year with posters featuring 'ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro.
Hawai'i Tourism Japan
Hawai'i Tourism Japan, the state's marketing contractor for Japan, signed Shimabukuro for 10 million yen, or $88,152 at current exchange rates, to appear on commuter train posters, in television spots and in person, as he did last week at a Tokyo shopping mall.
"That certainly is a decent chunk of change," said comic and actor Andy Bumatai. A celebrity like Don Ho can earn more, but "amongst (Shimabukuro's) contemporaries, I would say that's pretty much a home run," Bumatai added.
The marketing execs say Shimabukuro is a good fit for the demographic the travel industry is targeting.
"We need to bring back the younger people, the office ladies and all that, and I think that's where Jake can make the difference," said Gilbert Kimura, Hawai'i director of passenger sales and public relations for Japan Airlines. "The guy is really personable."
Shimabukuro, a rising star in Japan, is the first Hawai'i artist to sign a recording contract with Epic Records International, a division of Sony Music Japan International. He released a DVD in March called "Play Loud Ukulele" featuring songs from two of his shows in Tokyo last year.
Hawai'i Tourism Japan, which was formed by the Japanese advertising giant Dentsu, has a $7.3 million annual budget for promoting the Islands. Takashi Ichikura, executive director of Hawai'i Tourism Japan, said he expects to continue to incorporate Shimabukuro in Hawai'i campaigns next year, along with other Hawai'i artists.
Shimabukuro works well in the campaign being a "local Japanese boy," Kimura said.
Reach Kelly Yamanouchi at 535-2470, or at email@example.com.