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Mauna Kea x Gray Malin


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Murphy O’Brien was tasked with increasing exposure of the beloved Mauna Kea Beach Hotel as the ideal getaway for a variety of travelers and inspiring wanderlust amongst undiscovered brand fans. While beloved as a destination for family and multi-gen travel, the team set out to position Mauna Kea Beach Hotel as a premier Hawaii destination for a wider audience that encompasses young affluent travelers, solo travelers and romance for couples, in addition to families.


The Murphy O’Brien team approached fine art photographer Gray Malin for a collaborative 32 image photo series designed to showcase the best of the iconic Mauna Kea Beach Hotel while reaching an expanded, affluent audience with an affinity for travel. Based on Malin’s previous series shot at revered luxury properties throughout the U.S., the Murphy O’Brien team identified this as an opportunity to grow Mauna Kea Beach Hotel’s awareness among Malin’s likeminded fans.

To build anticipation among key target media ahead of the launch, Murphy O’Brien suggested sending signed and framed prints, plus an invitation to experience Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, to a selection of VIP editors. The team secured 10 media to receive mailers including Sam Cochran, Features Director at Architectural Digest; Rebecca Misner, West Coast Features Editor at Condé Nast Traveler; Jacqui Gifford, Editor in Chief at Travel + Leisure; Lavinel Savu, Executive Managing Editor at InStyle; and Lilah Ramzi, Features Editor at Vogue, among others.

Additionally, Murphy O’Brien worked closely with the Gray Malin team to host an Instagram giveaway designed to drive awareness of the new series, increase follower counts on @maunakeahotel and @graymalin and secure email contact information for both parties’ email marketing use.


Within three weeks of the series’ launch, earned and organic media coverage reached a national audience of 63,682,881 with an ad value of $589,066.65 in top target outlets including,, and

The Instagram giveaway contest secured a total of 4,986 entries, each of which translated to increased Instagram followers and new emails added to the resort’s e-marketing database. In addition, news of the collaboration reached an additional 120,000 readers via cross-promotion in Gray Malin’s e-newsletter.

The series continues to generate revenue for the resort via the framed prints for sale in the on-property gift shop, which they are able to obtain at wholesale prices as part of the partnership agreement. To extend the life of the series, M/O is currently exploring a second phase of the partnership and is ideating a Gray Malin x Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Beach Club, slated to launch in Q.2 2021.

Murphy O’Brien secured this partnership at zero cost to the resort. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel provided lodging and F&B to Gray and his team throughout the duration of the photoshoot, however there were no partnership fees associated with this launch. In addition, the resort received full rights to use images from the series in marketing materials at no additional cost.

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