Carnival Cruise Line's marketing will evolve toward greater interactive participation and more varied channels under Anomaly, the line's new ad agency of record, according to the line's chief marketing officer, Kathy Mayor.

Mayor said the line wants to deliver its messages where prospects are consuming media, and that might not be in traditional channels, although those won't be ignored.

Carnival also wants to leverage the credibility and authenticity that comes from brands recommended by friends and family and to reach consumers with a message that corresponds to their passions, Mayor said.

"What we want to do is take what is core to the brand and meet the customer where they are in terms of their expectation of living and interacting with brands in a digital world," Mayor said.

In picking an agency, Mayor said she looked not just for a company that could do digital marketing but one that could "market in a digital world." Anomaly, which was named the 2017 agency of the year by the trade publication Ad Age, fit the bill.

Much of what Anomaly will do revolves around sharing messages on social media. Mayor said that travel is one of the top three shared categories on Facebook, along with children and weddings.

She said an example of where Carnival's marketing is headed was the July 4 barbecue that the line sponsored at Miramar Air Station, a Marine Corps base near San Diego.

Because we should thank our troops every day not just on the Fourth of July. #thankyouburger

A post shared by Melissa Acosta (@itllacosta) on

Carnival solicited messages of gratitude to the military on social media, then laser-inscribed the messages on burger buns served at the barbecue. It sent photos of the buns back to the originators of the messages.

Meanwhile, photos and commentary about the buns and the event bounced around social media.

"That is how our fans are part of telling our story," Mayor said.

Carnival will still do what Mayor calls "linear" television advertising, such as recent ads that featured talking objects, which reach millions of consumers in mass media.

"It's not an only-this or only-that," Mayor said. "You do want reach, but you also want stories of the brand acting in the world in an authentic way that prospects can relate to."

One consideration is that the media continues to fragment, and consumers are quicker than ever to block messages they don't want to hear.

"There's so much out there that's trying to get a customer's attention," Mayor said. "We have to be invited in and meet the customer where they are, based on things they find of value, or have entertainment, or provide a utility."

Mayor said "passion points" such as food, comedy, family or military service, provide a way for Carnival to break through with a message.

Anomaly succeeds Arnold Worldwide, which had been the line's agency of record for eight years.

Founded in New York in 2004, Anomaly has seven offices around the globe and a long list of clients, including top consumer brands. The agency, for example, has created the Super Bowl ads for Budweiser for the past three years. Other clients include Apple's Beats by Dr. Dre and YouTube as well as consumer staples such as Campbell's Soup, Minute Maid and Hershey's.

According to an Ad Age report, the agency was called Anomaly because it would take a "channel-agnostic approach that could include everything from digital and social to new-product development."

Mayor said consumers and guests will start to see Anomaly's work for Carnival during Wave season.


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