Two South Florida cruise lines began running new ads on Monday, hoping to raise their profile as travelers start to decide where to vacation in 2008.
Carnival Cruise Lines is refreshing its long-standing “Fun” theme with a trio of 30-second ads set to music from the 1970s rock band Queen. And Norwegian Cruise Line has six new ads that tout its informal atmosphere and bend-the-rules approach to traditional cruise activities.
Up to 35 percent of cruises are bought within the first month or six weeks of the year, a key sales window for the industry, which is based largely in South Florida. Carnival said in a conference call for investors last month that bookings for 2008 appear to be ahead of the pace of 2007.
Carnival didn’t reveal the value of the media time it is buying to launch the new ads, developed by Coral Gables ad shop CooperDDB, other than to say it was a multimillion-dollar campaign. The ads will appear on network and cable TV. One of the new spots can be viewed at www.carnival.com/promo/tv.
All three ads will be pegged to a lyric in the 1975 Queen song, You’re My Best Friend. Each is aimed at a key demographic market such as multigenerational travelers, families and romantic couples.
In the family ad, a pair of dolphins appears to leap out of the atrium of one of Carnival’s ships and splash down into a lagoon. A shot of children petting the dolphin draws a warm reaction from approving parents and a child shoots down the inside of one of Carnival’s twisting super slides. “See a big new world through little eyes,” says the voice-over narration.
The campaign “truly captures the essence of our brand in an entertaining and creative way,” said Ruben Rodriguez, Carnival’s executive vice president of marketing. It is the first new campaign since the retirement of former Carnival President Bob Dickinson, who developed the “Fun Ship” concept in the 1970s.
In addition to television, Carnival will have new print ads built around the “Let the Fun Begin” slogan and anchored with a wave-like framing device. NCL Corp.’snew ads include one in which an overbearing salesman regales his dinner table with tales of a business triumph in Las Vegas. The ad contrasts the formal dinner where cruisers are sometimes seated with strangers, to Norwegian’s Freestyle Cruising model, which features a variety of open dining options.
Last year, Apollo Management LP agreed to buy a 50 percent stake in NCL, the third-largest line behind Carnival and Royal Caribbean. On Monday, NCL said the $1 billion deal had closed.