HONOLULU (KHON2) — Not everyone is familiar with Admor HVAC Inc.
But they are certainly familiar with the owners’ daughter and her catchphrase, “I love my Fujitsu.”
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“It’s interesting because I have a retail job but I wear a mask all the time and people recognize me just from my eyes,” Keli Santos said. “People say, ‘do I know you from somewhere?’”
That “somewhere,” of course, is appearing in commercials for and with her father Drew Santos since she was just 3 years old. There was no turning back.
“And that one picture set up the whole ‘I love Fujitsu’ phenomenon,” said Admor HVAC president Drew Santos. “Nobody was doing television advertising at that time and I wanted to do things outside the box and really shake up the industry. So we started producing our commercials.”
The popular TV spots started Drew on an unlikely journey, one that started after calling on a customer when he was a young man selling air conditioner units out of a small warehouse in Halawa. Turns out, that customer changed his life.
“He said, ‘what’s your dream?’ And I told him I wanted to have the biggest HVAC wholesale company in Hawaii. I want to be a superstore,” Drew said. “So he took me in his car down to Sand Island and opened up a warehouse that was 30,000 ft. and he said, ‘is this big enough for your dream?’”
That is when Drew started to write his own story. He decided to start up an ad campaign starring himself, the Fujitsu brand and his daughter Keli. Keli admitted some of the ideas seemed pretty corny.
“And when you see dad posing with all the models? That’s a major eye roll, that’s a major eye roll,” Keli said as she laughed. “All my friends are like, ‘is that your dad? ‘And then I go, ‘yeah but it’s OK, I love him, he’s my dad.’ Gotta’ love him no matter what.”
Although business is booming now, Santos says there many challenges along the way. The biggest, he said, was gaining the trust of his customers as an admitted outsider.
“I think it comes down to hard work and always doing more than what your competitors are doing. Be working when they’re being lax I’m never getting complacent,” Drew said.
It is a work ethic he says his entire team shares.
“I could not build this business without a incredible team of people. Some of them with us 25, even all 28 years. They’ve given their hearts and souls I really appreciate that and I really appreciate that,” Drew said.
Back to his #1 spokesperson, she really does love her Fujitsu, and for good reason. Fujitsu is putting Keli through college.
“It really is. Everything I got, I thank Fujitsu for everything,” Keli said with a laugh. “I love my Fujitsu.”