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Monday, November 24, 2014         

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Aston Waikiki capitalizes on appearance in 'Five-0'

By Erika Engle

POSTED:



All those aerial beauty shots of Waikiki Beach during the September premiere of "Hawaii Five-0" 2.0 paid off for the Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel, where scenes were shot for tonight's episode. That September video, fed from a camera atop the Aston's Coconut Club, was used by the national entertainment press here to cover the event.

Shari Chang, senior vice president for sales, marketing and revenue management, is certain the exposure encouraged producers to approach hotel officials. The hotel did not pay to be in the show, she said.

"We want to be able to promote and say, ' "Hawaii Five-0" shot here,' " she said. Should the settings be used for a crime, viewers realize "it's just TV," Chang chuckled.

The Coconut Club was transformed into a restaurant with the hotel's name emblazoned on the glass entry door, lobby and security office. Scenes were also shot in guest room No. 2127, for TV-trivia buffs and Hawaii-destined travelers who might want to know.

Chang is prohibited from revealing the nature of the scenes. "I can tell you, though, that the staff had so much fun working with them and they were so nice to work with. We enjoyed it so much!"

Rather than miss out on a no-brainer of a marketing opportunity, "We've taken it a step further and launched a whole 'Book 'em Aston' ad campaign," Chang said. Also, travel agencies are being invited for familiarization tours, because "the better they learn the destination, the better they're able to sell the destination and promote it," Chang said. Pleasant Holiday sales folk told them they'd never had that much fun learning. Aston asks its agent-guests to take a pledge, "not only to 'Book 'em Aston,' but to watch 'Hawaii Five-0,'" Chang said.

From hopeless to hopeful

Former Ala Moana Center Director of Tourism Erica Neves has changed direction in life following the sudden death of her 3-year-old son, Joshua, in 2009 and the Christmas morning miscarriage of a baby six months later.

Joshua awoke with a fever June 18, 2009, and died the next day. Erica and Max Neves had to wait three months for at least part of the "why" answer when testing revealed he died of complications from the H1N1 virus. The vaccine for H1N1 didn't arrive on Oahu until October, she said.

Erica and Max created the Joshua Neves Children's Foundation "to encourage people, and create community, and have resources available to them," she said.

Frequent news reports of child deaths stun and sadden the community briefly, but the family is often left to cope alone. "There's clearly a need in our community," she said. "We understand that pain and we want to be available to help these families."

The foundation will stage two annual events for affected families beginning with its inaugural event on Dec. 2. "This is not a fundraiser," she said. "The holidays are so tough, with one less person to buy a present for," that its purpose is to help uplift those in mourning.

The first Evening of Hope & Remembrance will be from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on that day at the New Hope Ministry Center at 290 Sand Island Access Road. Attendance is free with a pre-reserved e-ticket, available by e-mailing jncfoundation@gmail.com.

A Minnesota couple who lost three sons when a drunken driver crashed into them will be the featured speakers. Neves describes them as a very positive, strong, uplifting couple "who can offer a lot of encouragement -- a powerful message of inspiration," Neves said.

------

On the Net:

» www.nevesfoundation.org

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Advertiser. Reach her by e-mail at erika@staradvertiser.com.






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