Kailua company profiting off vandalism

Dan Meisenzahl, State Department of Transportation spokesperson
Dan Meisenzahl, State Department of Transportation spokesperson
Ikaika Anderson, Honolulu City Councilmember representing Kailua
Ikaika Anderson, Honolulu City Councilmember representing Kailua

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's becoming increasingly hard to believe that UDown has nothing to do with the guerilla marketing pranks that have been popping up on freeways around Oahu and the mainland.  Despite denying any involvement the Kailua clothing company is certainly profiting from it.

The vandalism is well documented.  For example there is time-lapse video of a fake freeway off ramp sign being made and then video of men putting it up on the H-3 in Kailua.  There's also video of a guy putting a sticker on the University Avenue freeway sign on the H-1.  And an athletic vandal climbing up a freeway pole and eventually posting a sticker by the Pali Highway.  The videos also courtesy UDown at the start and end.

Earlier videos show some guys on a plane goofing around. It then shows a man posting a sticker on a freeway sign in San Francisco in broad daylight.

"They're kind of rubbing out faces in it I suppose but what are you going to do," said Dan Meisenzahl, State Department of Transportation spokesperson.

We went to the UDown shop in Kailua.  The employee denies any involvement or knowledge although he does know one of the photographers who goes by the name The Lost Cricket.  The UDown website denies any wrongdoing but they don't have a problem profiting off of the vandalism offering various T-shirts, DVD's and posters of previous acts caught on tape.  The problem is none of them have been caught in the act.

"Karma is a funny thing and hopefully it will come back and bite these guys in the butt. and if they're connected to certain entity I hope they're held responsible too," said Meisenzahl.

"I wouldn't necessarily say they're condoning it but I would say they're definitely not doing anything to condemn it or to stop it," said Ikaika Anderson, Honolulu City Councilmember representing Kailua, where the store is located.  "To offer for sale pictures or videos or posters of your logo illegally placed on public property is something else and that I would hope the company is interested in stopping."

"They're just advertising from vandalism and it's just wrong in the first place," Nikko Nicholas, Honolulu resident.

The stickers promote the business but not necessarily sales.

"I don't know where the store is but that sign has become a symbol almost, like an icon. So it's not exactly sending the best message though when they're putting up any kind of sign right on street signs," said Nicholas.

Some think the media perpetuates the problem by giving it attention but it's also tough to miss.

"We kind of wish the media would ignore them and maybe they go away.  I don't think so I think the best chance is if they get caught one day and you know a lot of us at the DOT will be smiling when that day happens," said Meisenzahl.

And that's a good spot to sign off.

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