Travelocity Ad = FAIL
“Hula is the language of the heart, therefore the heartbeat of the Hawaiian people.” - King David Kalākaua
Over the years there have been many commercial ads that laugh at, poke fun of or mention my Hawaiian culture in a lighthearted manner. Normally, I shrug them off as ignorance and move on, however I recently stumbled upon a poster ad (above) by Travelocity while traveling on BART (San Francisco’s mass transit system) that stopped me in my tracks, jaw dropped.
While the intent of the message is to get people to visit Hawai’i and hopefully use Travelocity to book that voyage, it’s impact and choice of words they use implies that hula is an embarrassing act and should not be seen by anyone whose opinion is valued. The campaign perpetuates a novelty stereotype of mock hula done by drunken frat boys or tourists emulating movements at a lu’au that they think are hula movements and relegates it to the ranks of karaoke or charades. Hula should be honored, celebrated, nurtured, preserved and most of all respected!
There was a point in history (decades actually) when hula was banned by the occupying Missionaries and it was not until the accomplishments of our last great King David Kalākaua, that hula was revived and restored to it’s rightful status.
The irony in all of this is that we’ve come full circle with ads like this one doing the same sort of damage, perpetuating the same type message that the early Missionaries preached which was that hula was a bad and shameful thing. It most certainly is NOT!
We need to put an immediate stop to these types of ads the moment we notice them so that we can educate the masses about the importance of hula and our culture. If you are reading this and share my thoughts, please take a moment to send Travelocity your feedback by clicking on the link below:
Travelocity Feedback: http://bit.ly/v8QNQP
BART Complaint Line: 510-464-7134
Mahalo for listening!