This page is dedicated to covering the advertising agencies and execution on the cruise line's brand strategy.  A TV branding campaign attempts to cast a wide net. Its goal is to first create the desire, then let the travel agents, Internet and direct mail close with targeted offers. A golf analogy is the TV campaign tees up the ball.  Then, it is the offers job is to remove all the resistance between the ball and club head for a clean stroke.

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Cruise Line (click for ad samples) Agency In Agency Out What its worth
All Leisure Group Total Media £1.2 million
Carnival Cruise Lines (U.S.) Arnold CooperDDB $61 million
Carnival Cruise Lines (U.K.) Karmarama  £8million
Celebrity Element 79 Arnold
Costa Cruise Beber Silverstein
Cunard MDG
Crystal Cruises, Inc Y&R California and MediaCom
Round 2 Communications $10 million
Fred Olsen Cruise Lines Truly London £1.6 million
Holland America DDB
Hurtigruten Conrad Advertising Total Media Direct
£10 million
MSC Cruises  Leagas Delaney London
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) The Martin Agency GSD&M Idea City $56.3 million
P&O Cruises MCBD £ 7 million
Princess Ignited Dailey & Associates $15 million
Royal Caribbean (U.S.) JWT Arnold $82 million
Royal Caribbean (U.K.)  JWT London £6 million


TV Spot Samples

Click Carnival , Royal Caribbean or NCL respectively to go directly to current and historical TV spot samples.

{slide=Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL)}


"Cruise Like A Norwegian" (2011 - present)

Agency: The Martin Agency

In a move away from the traditional Freestyle theme, the objective of the new campaign is to communicate the diversity of travelers who choose to cruise and the variety of activities that cruisers can choose to enjoy.  Gorgeous visuals, plenty of smiling faces and only one ship shot at the end (which is nice – we know what ships look like, show us how they feel).

"Your Free to....Whatever" (2008-2011)

Agency: GSD&M | idea city

Overall excellent at clearly driving the message home - NCL is different in a freestyling way.

NCL's 2008 TV ad campaign reinforces the freestyle message, focusing tongue in cheek on what it might feel like to some dining on competitor cruises with fixed dining times or formal attire.  This runs the risk of turning some off (current cruisers of the other lines) but may resonate with a younger audience, people who have a disposition to freestyle cruise, or who have been intimidated to not try cruising before. (Click the picture for video.)

The previous spots communicated the same message in a less personalized manner by showing cruisers of the other lines as a more generic group.



{slide=Royal Caribbean (RCL)}

Royal Caribbean

The Sea is Calling (2011 - present)

Agency: JWT and media agency MindShare

After living there for three short years, Royal Caribbean emigrated away from the Nation of Why Not on December 19, 2011.  The new campaign titled "The Sea is Calling" plays to humans innate attraction to the ocean and the now nearly universal action of communicating via an “electronic lease.”  The tag “Answer it Royally” follows up by attaching the Royal Caribbean brand.  The new focus on escaping to relax in warmer waters resonates much better across Royal Caribbean’s ever expanding world-wide market base – and stands an interesting contrast to NCL’s more “nation-tied” theme "Cruise Like a Norwegian."

Nation of Why Not (2008-2011)

Agency: JWT and media agency MindShare

Royal Caribbean sailed away from its 9-year-old "Get Out There" campaign on November 2008.  The new campaign was dubbed "The Nation of Why Not" and kicked off with two television commercials (30-second and 60- second versions) inviting vacationers to secede from land and become citizens of “the nation.” The spots - a combination of live action and animation - began November 10, during morning show programming on ABC and NBC television networks, and during prime time programming on ABC and CBS. The commercials also highlighted Royal Caribbean’s global destinations.

Whether intended or not, “The Nation of Why Not” was a smart, timely play off the historic U.S. presidential election and forward-looking mentality towards economic recovery.

The ads creatively challenge viewers to do things at sea that they could not do on land, such as “Why not ice skate on the equator and climb mountains at sea?” Additionally, print ads launched in forty newspapers nationwide on Sunday, November 16, 2008.

Travel and cruise industry professionals were introduced to The Nation of Why Not on November 17, with the first edition of “The Why Not Herald,” an insert in key travel trade publications across the United States and Canada. Subsequent editions featured the new brand campaign’s print advertisements.


Get Out There - Lust for Life (1999-2008)

Agency: Arnold and MPG

Say what you want about the now 61 year old "Godfather of Punk" Iggy Pop,  the rhythmic jingle that sticks in your head and became so quickly iconic in identifying with Royal Caribbean was genius.  I don't know if management actually checked the lyrics to the song, but kudos to them for signing off on the campaign.

The various spots also successfully blend elements attractive to different target markets, while each in its own right feels like it was created with a specific audience in mind. My bet is different spots were placed to run on different targeted cable channels and programs.  The campaign also succeeds in creating the desire.  Nice work.


Spanish ad emphasizing the variety of shipboard activities by floating them on the water independently then pulling them together as a ship in the end.  I think it feels a little outer-worldly causing it to loose a sense that the benefits are actually real.  However, I can also see they were placing a focus on Hispanic family values and bringing them together so that part worked well.



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Carnival - Land vs. Sea (2011 - Present)

The new spots set to air beginning December 26, 2011 differentiate the relaxing, worry free experience onboard the Fun Ships with the potential shortcomings of land vacations.

Agency:  Arnold and MPG

Carnival - Fun For All, All For Fun (2008 - 2011)

Agency:  Arnold and MPG

A pet advertising peeve of mine is what I call the “pan and scan” or just showing pictures of your product.  If you have something new or unusual people need to see, then show it. But by now we all know what a cruise ship looks like because everyone always shows it.  That’s boring and unimpressive.  What is impressive is when agency Arnold and partner Carnival have the guts to not to show the ships!  I had high expectations for Arnold after stellar work with RCL but was admittedly nervous after seeing clips from two Fun for All events and the less than greatly executed but still full of potential towel animals.  My hat is off for delivering TV spots that express the emotion and fun related to cruising in a new way.


Other advertising includes a series of online videos based on Carnival's "get your pod chirping " in-room activity - the towel animals. The online clips are undoubtedly with the hope of going viral on the likes of YouTube and other social networks.

Phase two of Carnival's launch was the "Fun Director" ads.


Let the Fun Begin (Your my best Friend) Prior to 2008

Agency: CooperDDB

Perhaps borrowing from RCL's late 70's Rock Icon Jingle strategy, CooperDDB's Queen is good branding but not as memorable as the Iggy Pop version.