#WeAreMililani – Community, Selfies


Camille Nevarez-Hernandez

In the heart of the Mililani Town Center, right in front of the new gazebo, a bronze sign stands for customers to take photos under. By posting these photos on social media they can represent Town Center and their favorite restaurants in the new advertisements.

Connor Tribble

Town Center has become an integral part of life in Mililani, with the iconic clock tower atop Cookie Corner and the well known Consolidated Theatres, many of us feel comfortable and at home in this open air mall. In light of this popularity, Mililani Town Association (MTA) has decided to take this shared ground and display Mililani’s pride in their community with their new #WeAreMililani campaign. A simple idea, where anyone can take a photo under the sign in the common area and add a hashtag to become models in Town Center’s advertisements.

 “It became clear that there were no better people to represent the center in our advertising than our actual customers. So we made it official by asking people to upload their photos using the #WeAreMililani. Anything that we can do at Town Center to help bring the community closer together, and instill a sense of pride in residents and our shoppers is a win for all of us,” said Vice President of Marketing Darcy Rutzen.

 After the customers tag themselves on social media using the hashtag, they’re brought back to get their photos taken by professional photographers to be used in advertisements for the center. “You can see those photos in everything from our window graphics to website, to social media to newspaper advertising,” said Rutzen.

 The MTA noticed the popularity of their customers posting pictures in Town Center and grabbed onto the idea of using these people as their models. “The ‘We Are Mililani’ campaign started as an idea that we had while looking at our social media pages. The center is a place where people love to tag themselves at and take selfies, and we wanted to take that idea of being a community and bring it together in a really tangible way. We simply wanted to make sure our customer was represented in our advertising,” said Rutzen.

This idea highlights the connections Mililani residents have been making at this shared ground since 1968, and creates a chance to advertise the different stores available. “Town Center has a fantastic customer base—the Mililani community. These are the people who come (to) shop, dine and play at the center, we hope everyone captures the spirit and takes pride in the community in the same way. That’s what it means to say #WeAreMililani,” said Rutzen.

Town Center has also started adding new stores, such as Jersey Mikes, Thai Village and The Beauty Room to keep its customers pleased and renew their interest. “We’ll continue to add stores and restaurants and improve amenities in order to provide the best possible shopping experience for our guests, (and continue) to add new retailers to answer the needs of Mililani customers. It also makes Town Center of Mililani more of a shopping destination in the area,” said Rutzen.

This idea is applicable outside of Town Center also, and will ideally connect Mililani on a larger scale as a whole. “It’s so much fun to drive around Mililani and see people wearing #WeAreMililani t-shirts and the #WeAreMililani bumper stickers on cars,” said Rutzen. “I just saw one on my last trip and was thrilled.”

In the future, they hope to continue their plan, adding more chances to share in the spirit. “We intend to build on #WeAreMililani going forward by continuing to use the hashtag, and offering additional opportunities for the community to tag their photos and be used in advertising,” said Rutzen.

In an effort to attract even more customers, the Mililani Town Association will also bring back old favorites to bring the community closer together. “We hope that everything we do at Town Center, from the signature community events like Pineapple Drop which we are bringing back on New Year’s Eve after a two year hiatus, to the Kanikapila on the main stage featuring musical performances for the community, brings the community closer together. It’s really an amazing event for families who want to celebrate New Year’s Eve with us, we’ll drop a huge lit pineapple to coincide with the ball dropping in Times Square,” said Rutzen.

The Mililani Town Association hopes that their efforts will create new interest and keep people coming back to the stores they advertise. In the future, Town Center will continue to expand upon their campaign.