Cruise Lines Continue to Pour Dollars Into Advertising Despite Economy

There is an old maxim that goes, “Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does.” But in this economy, blink once and half your stock portfolio is lost. Nevertheless, hard economic times aren’t, yet, dissuading cruise lines from pulling the plug on advertising.

Carnival Cruise Lines pinata philadelphia

To evoke Carnival Cruise Lines' new "Fun for All. All for fun" tagline, the company assembled the world's largest piñata in Philadelphia for a recent 30-second TV spot

In fact, Carnival Cruise Lines launched a new brand advertising campaign on Christmas Day, consisting of two 30-second TV spots, which evoke the “Fun Ship” line’s new tagline: “Fun for All. All for Fun.” Like many ads we see on TV, these first two spots take a familiar tack: Market the product without actually showing the product. The result is effectual. In the one spot, Carnival assembled the world’s largest piñata in Philadelphia, drawing a horde of people. The piñata is then broken open discharging 8,000 pounds of candy. Another spot keeps the “world’s largest” theme going, this time with record-breaking, 35-feet-in-diameter beach balls (three to be exact). The balls were then rolled off the tops of buildings in Dallas, turning the streets into an asphalt beach. “Fun for All. All for Fun.” Message executed.

“Fun is the core essence of Carnival,” says Jim Berra, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Carnival Cruise Lines, who tells Travel Agent that more spots will air at the end of January, this time showcasing actual Carnival ships. “Our brand of fun is social, gregarious and inclusive. You see those dimensions of fun in the spots.”

Also noticeable is an assurance that, even though the economy has hit a rough patch, spend and time put forth on advertising is not going away. “In this market, it’s important to reinforce value and position,” Berra says. “Consumers are still going to take vacations. How they do that may change, so we need to be on the top of their minds. Walking away is a mistake.”

Carnival isn’t the only line resetting their message via a new brand campaign. Royal Caribbean International took its message from land to sea, in tongue-in-cheek fashion with “The Nation of Why Not,” which invites consumers to secede from land and become “citizens” of the nation. Two TV spots highlight Royal Caribbean’s global itineraries and innovative onboard amenities. “Why not ice skate on the equator and climb mountains at sea?” is put to consumers.

“The ‘Nation of Why Not’ encapsulates what Royal Caribbean has always stood for,” says Paula Michaelides, Royal Caribbean International’s associate vice president of integrated marketing. “From the very beginning, this company has always asked, 'Why Not?' Why not design a ship specifically to cruise the Caribbean? Why not add rock walls and ice skating rinks and Flowriders?”

Letting up in marketing and advertising is also not an option for Royal Caribbean. “To most Americans, vacations are seen as an entitlement or a right,” Michaelides says. “The travel industry predicts, however, that they might adjust their plans by trading down on length of trip and budget. So, as consumers demand more and more out of shorter and fewer vacations, Royal Caribbean is uniquely positioned to deliver.

“We will continue our marketing strategy during this time and believe that the campaign’s optimistic and upbeat message will be a welcome relief from the doom and gloom of everyday life.”

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