Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I need a Mai Tai

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess you don't know the meaning behind the symbol to the left. It's the logo for the Pele. Not the soccer player, but the Regional Addy award given to the creators of outstanding advertising in Hawaii. 

In case you missed it, the three red boxes create the P in Pele, but they are separated to look like islands because...well it's a Hawaiian award. That's conceptual design. Or so I'm told.

I was asked to be a judge of the Pele's years ago. There was a time when I was asked to be a judge at quite a few shows. But that's when awards meant something. And boondoggle's meant something more. 

Truth is, I didn't judge many shows. I don't like flying in planes and I don't like not sleeping in my own bed. But when someone offers to fly you out to Oahu and comp you four days away from nagging clients and self-important planners, well that's just an offer that can't be refused.

Of course now in retrospect I wish I had.

Because of a logistics error, the Pele awards committee could not secure us a room at the Waikiki Hilton and instead placed us at the Royal Ilikai Hotel which was located next door. The Ilikai didn't feel much like a hotel, it felt like a nursing home that aspired to be a hotel. As I joked with a friend, they managed to put the 'ill' in Ilikai.

The wallpaper was peeling.
The carpet was rotting.
And the air conditioner was louder than a Japanese Zero.

You could argue that it's a bit ungracious of me to be complaining about three free nights at a hotel but the fact is, I would have gladly paid to sleep somewhere else. Somewhere clean. But I couldn't switch hotels because that would have been ungracious.

In my review on I wrote that the best thing about the Royal Ilikai was the cab ride leaving the hotel.

Fortunately, the 15 hour days judging the "stellar" work minimized my time at the hotel. And I did meet several high level executives from some Detroit agencies. One of whom said he was a big fan of my work at that if I wanted to relocate to Michigan I had a standing offer of employment. 

I wonder if an offer like that has a statute of limitations.

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