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Royal Caribbean Introduces New "Come Seek" Advertising Campaign

October 15, 2015 By: Susan Young

The campaign will spotlight Royal Caribbean's "wow" amenities, such as the iFly skydiving simulator.
The campaign will spotlight Royal Caribbean's "wow" amenities, such as the iFly skydiving simulator.

Agents keep asking Royal Caribbean International, which sails 23 ships to more than 200 destinations across the globe, to create another new ad campaign like "Get Out There," the iconic eight-year campaign that helped put the line on the map for many consumers.

Now, the brand believes it's done just that. Next Monday, October 19, Royal Caribbean will launch new multimillion-dollar, integrated "Come Seek" campaign, inviting potential Royal Caribbean cruisers to “Come Seek” their own experiences filled with adventure, exploration and discovery.

Personal travel experiences and the consumer's point of view and experiences "off the beaten path" will be top of mind in this campaign, as will the line's ships. The goal is to break through to Millennials, in particular, who are constantly bombarded with a stream of information and media messaging.

So, the line will integrate creative new concepts including a first-of-a-kind live streaming outdoor campaign in the New York area delivered via the social platform Periscope. It will also launch unusual five-second TV spots, to build interest for the 30 second ones. 

Certainly, the brand has never followed the crowd with its brand messaging nor its adventurous onboard product features. And that's just what it wants with its new advertising.

"We want to be disruptive, to create some noise," says Jim Berra, the line's chief marketing officer, who says the line is spending 35 percent more on advertising in the fourth quarter than it has in the past and will increase the intensity of the campaign through the Wave Season in the first quarter of the year.

The goal is to attract first time cruisers and hard-to-corral Millennials. Yet, it's still designed to appeal to the Royal Caribbean faithful -- those who love the line and are likely to repeat if enticed. 

Featuring the Firsts

The integrated campaign -- designed to create 75 million impressions in November alone -- will debut with a series of broadcast and online ads including the live streaming outdoor campaign via Periscope. Certainly, the new campaign will showcase Royal Caribbean's razzle-dazzle features and industry "firsts."

Northstar on the Quantum of the Seas
Northstar on the Quantum of the Seas

The ads include video footage of the Oasis- and Quantum-class ships, known for their ziplines, rock climbing walls, a surfing simulator and iFly skydiving experience, not to mention the VOOM high-speed Internet at sea service. 

Royal Caribbean believes it's transformed the cruise experience to an active adventure with the entertainment and connectivity that Millennial travelers -- many of whom have never shown a desire to take a cruise. 

“Our mission is to disrupt and challenge misperceptions and invite the next generation of travelers to experience Royal Caribbean,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International.

“Our guests recognize that Royal Caribbean is an adventure designed to inspire and excite the senses," emphasizes Bayley. "With our new campaign, we will show these travelers what our guests already know and love.”

So the new campaign is not only an invitation from Royal Caribbean to “Come Seek,” but aims squarely at conventions that may inhibit continued growth. Ads proclaim "This is Not a Cruise. You are Not a Tourist. This is Not the Caribbean."

Instead, ads show "It's the 'Royal' Caribbean." The integrated marketing campaign includes broadcast, digital and outdoor advertising, in addition to public relations, social media and direct marketing.

The line says the campaign is designed for adventurers who don’t just want, but require, immersive, culturally rich travel. So the "seekers" are introduced to the line's worldwide destinations with experiential excursions, such as an Ocean Racing Experience in Antigua, which matches two guest teams of six each with professional yachties in head-to-head competition, and a Mountain Top Downhill Trek through historic plantation ruins in St. Maarten.

For the first two weeks, agents will see short spots on select national media and on social media. including the "Late Show" with Stephen Colbert, the "Tonight Show" starring Jimmy Fallon and also the reality show, "The Voice." The cruise line negotiated with the networks to show unusual five-second spots to whet the consumers' appetite.

It's just a brief flash of exciting content; viewers will see cruisers sky diving, surfing onboard and so on. The goal is to break through the noise or clutter, as Berra describes it, and grab the viewer's attention.

Visual Impact

Look for these Royal Caribbean teasers on such channels as ABC, NBC, YouTube, Amazon, Facebook, Spotify, Hulu and so on. Then, once the line has grabbed the public's attention, it will air 30-second spots with similar music and theming.

Royal Caribbean is also turning to its crew members to help leverage the visual impact. Crew will broadcast first-person videos and visuals they create onboard the line's ships or ashore within the destinations.

Initially, there will be a crew-generated page on Tumblr. The line said, though, that this could expand to travel agents and cruisers, who would post their own content to share with the public.

"Any campaign cannot be a success without our travel partners," stressed Vicki Freed, Royal Caribbean's senior vice president of sales, trade support and service. Freed said agents can keep up with happenings on the new campaign at

Freed stressed that travel agents have repeatedly asked for a campaign that packs the punch of the former "Get Out There" campaign. She now believes they have one. 

The line has already started briefing major trade partners. Freed pledged that the line will give travel agent partners the tools and resources needed to help corral more "seekers" of adventure to book a cruise.

Expecting a sales call from Royal Caribbean? Freed told reporters those will now be called "seekers' sessions." 

From one trade perspective, "the commercials I previewed are awesome," said Michelle Fee, CEO and co-founder of Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative, who sits on the Royal Caribbean International advisory board. She says it's clear the line based the campaign on research -- trying to target older Millennials who have never cruised and want a truly exotic experience, not just a sandy beach. 

Regional New York Push

In addition, the line plans a regional push in New York (and other markets to come) as Anthem of the Seas, the line's newest ship, arrives for Caribbean voyages that originate in nearby Bayonne, NJ. 

New York commuters and visitors will see 230 or so geo-tagged billboards in major places around town including Grand Central Station or Penn Station. Live streaming video will allow the line to put up images that will make consumers -- in the midst of winter -- want to seek out a Caribbean vacation.

Berra, in a discussion with reporters earlier in the week, said that consumers have become jaundiced by the amount of content out in the media marketplace. Consumers tune it out if it's too slick, he said. So the line is seeking a more authentic, first-hand approach, rather than slick visuals shot by a world-class photographer.  

While the initial push for the campaign this fall and early winter will focus on the Caribbean, Berra said there will also be other parts of the world, such as Europe and Alaska, to be featured in the future. 

What do you think of the new marketing campaign? Please let us know on our Facebook page or in the comments below. 

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About the Author

Susan Young
A veteran of 100-plus cruises, Susan J. Young, is senior contributing editor for cruises – covering ocean, river and niche cruises for Travel Agent and

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By Susan Young | October 15, 2015
Featuring live streaming video and unusual five-second ad spots, among other messaging, it's designed to "disrupt" a marketplace in which consumers tune out. Jim Berra and Vicki Freed explain.