Princess' new ad campaign targeting 'meaningful travelers'

By Tom Stieghorst
Princess Cruises is returning to TV for the first time in a decade with a major ad campaign designed to reach travelers who seek a "meaningful" experience on vacation.

The campaign has a budget of $20 million, enough to ensure that Princess reaches its "meaningful traveler" target group, said Gordon Ho, Princess' senior vice president of marketing.

Ads will display the "Come Back New" slogan that will gradually replace the current "Escape Completely" tagline that has summarized Princess' marketing message in the past.

The launch vehicle for the campaign was the Critics' Choice Movie Awards Red Carpet Show airing on the CW network. Going forward the ads will appear on four broadcast networks, on cable shows and online.

A companion print campaign in national and regional magazines will focus on the enriching destinations that Princess sails to. Radio and digital advertising will round out the campaign.

Ho said Princess research found that people valued a cruise that left them with a new perspective, a new friendship, a new story or a deeper appreciation of their loved ones.

Account managers at Goodby Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco crafted the "Come Back New" idea in response.

One ad shows a couple at dinner, with the narrator noting how the wife's husband no longer orders the same old wine after visiting a vineyard on a Princess shore excursion. "For that moment, he's new to you," the voice-over says.

Another of the 30-second spots focuses on a tired little girl in her father's arms, recounting all the shared memories they've created.

"The ads were actually inspired by our passengers' stories about how they return from their cruise feeling rejuvenated and more closely connected with their loved ones," said Princess President Jan Swartz.

"Our new advertising theme really captures the essence of our brand promise to our passengers," Swartz said.

Ho said by targeting "meaningful travelers" Princess is focusing its resources on one of the fastest-growing segments in travel. The group is more of a psychographic one than a traditional demographic, defined by its desire for a vacation with substance, Ho said. It spans a broad range of ages and backgrounds.

The 30-second spots carry a "contact your travel agent" tag line. Ho said Princess expects the campaign to reach 80% of meaningful travelers at least five times.

"If all goes well the meaningful travelers will have seen an assortment of our ads, and cumulatively we believe that will drive them to reach out to a travel agent to learn more," he said.

Ho said the thinking that people research cruises on the Internet and share their experiences on social media hasn't gone away. "We're going to continue to put a lot of emphasis on digital," he said.

But TV brings the broadest reach possible for the "Come Back New" message.

For the trade, Princess plans a sweepstakes in February offering the chance for a free cruise to agents who take a "Come Back New" training course.

The print ads focus initially on Alaska and the Caribbean and capture the transformative moments of exploration. The ads will appear in a variety of outlets, including Travel + Leisure, Food and Wine, Sunset and National Geographic Traveler.

Radio spots will air in major markets around the U.S., including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Houston and Miami, Princess said. 
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