A co-worker sent me a link to a product called the Perfect Hawaii Chair made by Perfect USA. Her e-mail to me said it all: “Have you seen this? The Hawaii Chair…I thought it was a joke, but it looks real.”
As far as I can tell, it’s as real as it is embarrassing to see Hawaii associated with it. Just check out the video on the site. Tell me your co-workers wouldn’t laugh you all the way to Human Resources if you had this in your office. According to the website:
The Perfect Hawaii Chair combines the ancient art of the Hula with patented 2,800 RPM Hula motor to create an easy-to-use waistline slimming and fat burning aerobic workout exercise machine that take the work out of your work. The Hawaii Chair fits in anywhere, is easy to use and perfect for the whole family. The Hawaii Chair targets improved waistline and shedding some unwanted fat from your body. For senior citizens, frequent exercising with the Hawaii Chair promotes vigor without strenuous exercising.
The chair’s movement really makes it look more like a “Tahitian Chair” to me! And what the heck is a “hula motor”? It’s pretty obvious to me these designers never once saw the ancient hula kahiko performed or understand the significance of hula here in Hawaii. Someone get them a copy of last year’s Merrie Monarch Festival. Now that’s authentic hula!
The marketing behind this product really proves to me just how strong the Hawaii brand is. Take the tourism industry for example. Hawaii is one of the most recognized and loved vacation destinations in the world. After decades of brand building, it’s disgusting to see how far some companies will go to take advantage of Hawaii or the culture just to sell something.
As I once heard in a Hawaiian cultural sensitivity training class, putting pineapple on a pizza with ham doesn’t make it a Hawaiian pizza. There’s much more to being Hawaiian or “of Hawaii” than what’s on the surface. Wouldn’t you agree?