Princess Cruises Launches "Come Back New" Advertising Campaign (VIDEO)

Princess Cruises ( is kicking off a new $20 million advertising campaign – “Come Back New.”  Debuting this week, the eight-week national campaign marks the premium line’s return to television and radio advertising for the first time in more than a decade.

Created by Goodby, Silverstein and Partners, the new television advertising spots will launch during the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards’ Red Carpet Show airing on the CW network Jan.16. Beginning Jan. 20, they'll also air both online and on major television networks including CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox, plus many top cable networks and shows.

The spots will be complemented by a series of dramatic print ads in national and regional magazines. Radio, digital and trade advertising as well as agent tie-ins will round out the campaign.

Why is the line doing such a campaign now, given that it hadn’t invested in broadcast advertising for such a long time? Research and 2013 focus group feedback led Princess to identify what it terms a new, untapped segment of the population called “Meaningful Travelers.”

Princess said these people haven't typically cruised in the past but acknowledge they’d be interested if the cruise vacation experience allows them to transform and enrich their lives. “When they vacation, they want to make sure they get enriched,” said Gordon Ho, senior vice president, marketing, Princess Cruises. But while these potential customers certainly desire to meet new people and experience new cultures, he added, “it’s just as much about their own loved ones” and having meaningful experiences together on vacation.

The line's research showed Meaningful Travelers  want to return from vacation feeling they’re "a new person" based on those new experiences, Ho said. “It was very clear this segment was real, and when we told them about what Princess offered they said, ‘That’s what I want to do.’”

Ruby Princess at dock in Port Everglades, FL. // Photo by Susan J. Young
Ruby Princess at dock in Port Everglades, FL. // Photo by Susan J. Young

The “Come Back New” campaign is designed to appeal to consumers who value experiences over things. Ho said Princess' line-up of 350-plus foreign destinations means that the premium line can deliver the type of vacation these people seek.

The ads feature people cruising with Princess who experience memorable moments onboard while connecting with nature, cultures and loved ones in a different way, and “come back new.” While Ho said the ads feature actors, the stories are inspired directly by past guest feedback.

Isn't stress the prime motivator for getting away on a cruise? "There is no question that the research showed people feel like they’re working harder than ever and that many do feel stress," Ho stated, but he emphasized that stress isn't the prime motivation for Meaningful Travelers nor is an enriching cruise the only type of cruise desired by stressed out people.

For example, Princess regularly sees guests whose lives are busy and stressful, yet they desire a cruise just to relax, sleep, be pampered and do nothing. In contrast, Ho emphasized that "Meaningful Travelers really want to better themselves on vacation. They want to experience life, to learn, to experience cultures, people and food, and to do it in the best way possible."

Princess hopes this new campaign will help differentiate its brand from other cruise products. Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises’ president puts it this way: “After extensive research, we identified a growing segment of people who want their vacations to transform them with new perspectives, new friendships and new stories. They are increasingly looking to discover new places, learn about other cultures, try new foods from the places they’re visiting, and gain inspiration from the world they don’t see every day. They want to ‘come back new,’ and our new campaign shows that Princess is the best cruise line to deliver this to them.”

It’s no secret that the entire cruise industry has been dealing with the challenge of getting non-cruisers onboard for many years. Most lines say they don't just want to pilfer customers from others; for a healthy industry, all lines must pull in new cruisers.

“This is a great opportunity within the cruise industry for us to really interest non-cruisers in a cruise vacation,” Ho stressed. “Meaningful travelers say, ‘Okay, where do I get to go to, what cultures will I be exposed to.’”

The campaign came together rather quickly, after the line began to tap into the research results in earnest in late summer 2012. The new television spots focus on personal experiences at sea, with beautiful photography to capture the idea that “a moment can transform you forever.”

Ho says that, in many ways, the campaign focuses on universal experiences that might apply to all destinations. So, for example, ads take viewers along as a father lovingly carries his happily exhausted daughter along the Promenade Deck, creating a lifetime memory.

Other ads show couples who discover the true value of time together and how a wonderful day exploring Italy can inspire a surprising twist from the expected. But at the same time, Ho said three regions of the world – Alaska, the Caribbean and Europe – will also be part of the focus.

Top Deck of Royal Princess // Photo by Susan J. Young
Top Deck of Royal Princess // Photo by Susan J. Young

Agents may view the new broadcast spots at From the ad agency side, the new campaign's executive creative director is Rich Silverstein, and the co-creative directors are Kate Catalinac and Damian Fitzgerald.

Today, some commercial pre-roll video for the new television ads is airing on the Internet but the television spots will actually debut on Thursday. Then the full array of TV spots begins Monday, Jan. 20 and the campaign will launch in earnest across all networks.

Ho believes that Princess and travel agents, partnering together, “can really make a difference in driving incremental demand." Agents will be able to use the 30-second TV commercial in their local market as a 27-second commercial to which they can add their tag information, such as their name or contact number. The same concept will apply for radio ads.

In a recent travel sales meeting, Ho said Princess showcased a small portion of the “Come Back New” ad campaign to travel partners. A new Princess Academy online educational course for agents explains the campaign as well. "Those that complete it will enter a sweepstakes to win a cruise,” noted Ho. “We really want to educate travel partners about the campaign.”

Prints ads will focus initially on Alaska and the Caribbean. They’ll appear in Travel & Leisure, Food and Wine, Sunset and National Geographic Traveler, among other publications. Ho said there will also be some trade advertising.

Radio spots that continue the “come back new” theme will air in major markets around the U.S., including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Houston, and Miami. The new ads and other campaign materials will roll out throughout this month.

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