Carnival Debuts "Moments that Matter" Television Ads With Agent Call to Action

new carnival marketing campaign

Carnival Cruise Lines is kicking off a new $25 million “Moments that Matter” national television campaign that showcases framed photographs and videos of precious moments that past guests have spent with their families and friends on a cruise.

The new TV spots, which feature an agent call-to-action, will debut on Monday, Sept. 23 and will air on major primetime network shows including, How I Met Your Mother, Parks and Recreation, Big Bang Theory and The Voice, leading cable networks including Bravo, TNT, TLC, ABC Family, TBS and Food Network and online on Yahoo! and YouTube.

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The link to the 30-second Carnival (www.goccl.com) commercial is here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1ep4wA__rs&feature=youtu.be.

Jim Berra, Carnival’s chief marketing officer, said agents can expect the new 60-second commercial to have both the call-to-action and a price point, another step designed to drive potential cruisers to travel agents to book.

Robust Campaign

The new advertising campaign will encompass broadcast, radio, digital and direct mail channels between September and December 2013, and, while that does not represent the brand’s total annual advertising spend, it is substantially higher than what the company normally invests during the fall time period.

While the new campaign is themed around “Moments that Matter,” Carnival is still embracing “The Fun Ships” branding. In fact, the new commercials end with “Fun for All, All for Fun.’

“The positioning of the brand around fun, memorable vacations at a great value remains constant,” said Berra. “We are still very much about fun.” But he also said that “what this campaign actually reflects is that from a TV advertising standpoint -- after the events of earlier this year -- we needed to think about the best way to express that.”

In the first part of 2013, Carnival endured negative publicity following the Carnival Triumph fire and several other incidents. Berra said the line stepped back, evaluated the marketplace and decided that the most trusted, credible and emotional voice that the line could use to promote its product was “the voice of our guests.”

Using Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, the line asked for and received more than 30,000 photos and videos from past guests who revealed their “Moments That Matter” onboard Carnival ships. These moments included people lounging poolside, making a marriage proposal, enjoying kids’ club activities, dining or spending fun times ashore, to name just a few.

Then the best were selected. Within the commercials, these "moments" are showcased as artwork that one might put on a wall, within an art walk display or lining a staircase at home.

Berra says the framed videos or photos are designed to signify quality, because “we put the best moments of our lives into frames.”

Portions of the spots that show the framed photographs and people looking at them on a pier or street were not virtual creations, said Berra. Those scenes were shot in Brooklyn Heights, NY, Miami, FL and Austin, TX.

Berra says the line is evaluating how to possibly bring a similar look -- framed photos or videos that show the times of people’s lives when they were having the most fun – to such venues as subway stations, train stations or airports. The line is also considering some events based on such outdoor installations.

new carnival marketing campaign

In addition to past guest submissions, Carnival also asked for employee submissions. Those are now being used in the campaign, as well as for new signage and posters at Carnival’s Miami corporate headquarters.

Will Carnival look for trade efforts that dovetail with the new television advertising? Yes, says Berra, noting that “we are actively working on trade advertising” that will be reflective of the same “Moments that Matter” theming. 

The line also plans to continue to use social media to gather content to continue to build its advertising and other communications. It also will look at ways to accelerate and enhance guests’ memories onboard – showcasing those moments at sea and after the guests return home.

Berra cites this as an invaluable tandem approach: (1)  the consumer’s initial research based on actual guest feedback, and (2) the agent’s expertise once the consumer is ready to move forward. 

“Think about the journey for consumers,” Berra said. “In the early stages, they’re trying to get a broad sense of what the expectation might be.” Consumers typically value authentic feedback from family members, friends and others who have had the experience, he said, noting that occurs whether a consumer is seeking to purchase a car, cruise or something else.

Similarly, "we found those looking to book a cruise are much more likely to listen to recommendations from previous cruisers…there's a level of trust there that can't be fabricated," according to Pete Johnson, executive creative director, creative lead, Arnold Worldwide, Boston, which developed the campaign in partnership with Carnival.

But then when the consumer reaches the decision of ‘I’d like to cruise,” Berra said that’s when the travel agent can really shine as consumers become anxious, uncertain and have plenty of questions. They need the advice and counsel of a travel agent to help them sort it all out and he said Carnival’s advertising with the agent “call to action” is designed to stimulate sales by travel partners.

Skilled travel advisors can help ease consumers’ concerns and anxieties about picking the right cabin category, the right itinerary and so on, said Berra: “That is where an agent becomes incredibly valuable.”

The campaign, which will continue into the first quarter of 2014 and into the heart of Wave Season, is part of a fall marketing push by Carnival Cruise Lines to stimulate consumer interest in the brand. Berra noted that this normally isn’t a time of year when Carnival does television ads, although it has done some fall advertising here and there.

Typically, “we’ve found the best time to use television to ignite consumer demand is throughout the Wave Period and through April and May.” But he's "cautiously optimistic" and hopes that consumers will flock to agencies – starting the process of making their own memories that matter.

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