New Royal Caribbean ads focus on ‘next gen’ cruisers

Royal Caribbean says its “Come Seek” campaign reflects the brand’s adventurous spirit.
Royal Caribbean says its “Come Seek” campaign reflects the brand’s adventurous spirit.

Royal Caribbean International is launching a major marketing campaign on Oct. 19 that will focus on Caribbean destinations and subvert stereotypes about a cruise.

Stylistically, it is designed to break through advertising clutter and indifference, with a specific emphasis on reaching “next gen” cruisers with twitchy images and jangly music.

The “Come Seek” campaign, Royal’s first since chief marketing officer Jim Berra moved to Royal from a similar position at Carnival Cruise Line, will be nothing if not different, Berra said.

“It really is about attracting that next generation of cruisers,” Berra said. “We’re not simply trying to speak to our current core passengers.”

The key message in ads that will begin airing on shows such as NBC’s “The Voice” is about what a cruise is “not.”

Viewers will see a rapid sequence of images that include statements such as “This is not a cruise,” or “You are not a tourist,” or “This is not the Caribbean.”

Berra said the theme was designed to resonate with about 35 million people who are not “cruise rejecters” but who need more convincing.

“Some of the things we’re going to do when showing our shipboard experience is to bring it to light in ways that are a little bit unexpected,” he said.

The “not” theme will carry over into a trade campaign that will include the theme “You are not a travel agent.”  Instead, Royal suggests in one ad that, “You are an all-knowing giggle-moment maker.”

Vicki Freed, Royal’s senior vice president of sales trade support and service, said field sales calls are being rebranded as “seeker sessions.”

“We’re going to help give [agents] the tools and the resources to help get those people who are “seekers” to think about coming on a Royal Caribbean cruise,” Freed said.

“Come Seek” will have several novel delivery vehicles, including 5-second video ads that will serve as “teasers” on national television and as “snackable” messages for social media posting.

Video for the campaign has been shot and edited so it stands out on small screens, Berra said.

Starting in November, Royal will also come alive on 320 electronic billboards in high traffic spots in New York City that will carry live Periscope video from ships or Caribbean locales.

The idea leverages Royal’s Voom broadband connection to stream the video.

As part of the effort, Royal will select crew members to show off their insider knowledge in social media postings.

Berra said Royal ‘s fourth-quarter ad spending will be up 35% from last year, with an expected increase in next year’s first quarter, too.


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