“Choose Fun” – with choices both onboard and ashore -- is the latest new brand campaign theming for Carnival Cruise Line. The new public campaign was created by Anomaly, Carnival’s new advertising agency.
Robust research completed by the line showed that the both guests and crew share the common belief that fun is “a choice,” whether delivered onboard or ashore. It’s no longer about telling guests to have fun, but to give them options for how they can do so to be true to themselves, embrace positivity and have fun with others.
Agents know that over the year the “fun quotient” has been a massive success for Carnival, which has built its brand from just one ship to what it is today – a fleet of 25 ships operating three- to 16-day voyages to the Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, New England, Bermuda, Europe, Cuba, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.
Two 133,500-ton Vista class ships are currently scheduled for delivery - Carnival Horizon in 2018 and Carnival Panorama in 2019. Additionally, two new 180,000-ton ships are scheduled to enter service in 2020 and 2022.
The Changing Meaning of Fun
"Choose Fun" is the latest incarnation of the “fun” theming. What’s key? It incorporates a modern perspective of the guest being in charge and making personalized choices of how to spend their vacation time.
Back in the ‘80s when Kathy Lee Gifford was the face of the brand and sang, “Ain’t We Got Fun” atop a Carnival deck, it was an era when guests looked to the cruise line to create the fun for them.
Today, the guest is that catalyst. Since Carnival offers an array of onboard attractions and experiences, Anomaly created a campaign that connects the same activities guests enjoy on land with those offered onboard, but it also does so on a one-to-one, personalized level.
So, while the line provides all the bells and whistles for fun, the traveler is firmly controlling his or her personal experience. Everyone has their own definition of fun, which may not be what anyone else on the same cruise considers it to be. “We really believe that as marketers we need to be invited,” says Kathy Mayor, Carnival’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer.
Whether it’s food, adventure or comedy, Mayor says the line is often talking to cruise rookies so the advertising must really dig down and reveal the specific experiences and really show people, based on their own personal interests, “how appealing cruising is for the next vacation.”
Corralling First Timers
Certainly, Choose Fun is a campaign designed to attract those who’ve never cruised. “As America’s Cruise Line, Carnival has always delivered on our brand promise of fun, memorable vacations at a great value,” says Christine Duffy, Carnival’s president. “This new campaign promises to be an irresistible invitation for prospects to rethink their beliefs about cruising and consider Carnival as their next vacation.”
The Choose Fun campaign launches with two distinctly different sets of advertising.
- First, it includes longer-length testimonials that depict first-time cruisers who were initially reluctant to set sail but were liberated on a Carnival cruise, making the vacation more fun and memorable for everyone. These testimonials are viewed in unexpected situations, such as sliding down a water slide, posing for photos and even conversing with family members under water.
- Additionally, five-second video snippets will be customized to match content on various websites and viewer preferences. It’s one-to-one marketing. Each pod showcases a fun activity aboard a Carnival ship, including biking in the sky on SkyRide, getting a massage at the Cloud 9 Spa, performing at Lip Sync Battle, enjoying the Punchliner Comedy Club and feasting on burgers by Food Network star and Carnival partner Guy Fieri, as well as fun activities ashore.
“We believe Choose Fun is a bumper sticker Carnival guests would proudly identify with – a rallying cry that inspires those who have never cruised to give it a try,” says Mayor. “After all, when given a choice between more fun or less fun, who wouldn’t choose more fun?”
It’s also a shared campaign that taps into the notion of identity, Mayor believes. In other words, when a friend or family member proudly says, “I am a cruiser,” based on a cruise vacation they loved because they cruised on their own terms, that infectious enthusiasm is shared with others and they become potential future cruisers.
Platforms for Fun
Choose Fun will materialize in digital display, paid social and modular online videos on such platforms as Amazon Video, Hulu, Roku and Vevo.
In addition, the new advertising will also air on television in the Atlanta, Houston Dallas and LA markets during high profile events like the GRAMMY’s Red Carpet and NFL Playoff Games.
In these key regional markets, large and what Carnival describes as “disruptive” out-of-home placements will also showcase Carnival’s visual identity and uncommon text-only communications to break through the sea of sameness in the category.
"We couldn't be prouder of this work and new partnership,” says Franke Rodriguez, partner and CEO of Anomaly. “With Choose Fun, Carnival is poised to disrupt the cruise category, launch an innovative go-to-market model, and connect with a new wave of cruisers who share the values of this amazing brand."
While Carnival isn’t a sponsor of the upcoming Olympic Games this February in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Mayor says the line will run national television advertising during the games and a full line-up in regional markets.
As athletes cross the finish line or score a perfect 10, Mayor says they typically often hold their arms upward and outstretched: “It’s what human beings do in celebrating, and that looks like the shape of our funnel.”