Celebrity Cruises' Michael Scheiner on the line's biggest ad campaign

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Celebrity Cruises' recently appointed chief marketing officer, Michael Scheiner, is behind the brand's biggest-ever global advertising campaign, "Journey Safe, Journey Wonderfull," (intentionally misspelled to underscore the fullness of a Celebrity vacation) which launched Sept. 9. News editor Johanna Jainchill spoke with Scheiner, whose background is mostly with major fashion brands such as Tommy Hilfiger and Abercrombie & Fitch, about the concept behind the campaign and Celebrity's plans to push more diversity and inclusivity.

T0621MICHAELSCHEINER_C [Credit: Celebrity Cruises]
Michael Scheiner

Q: Why was the time right for such a massive campaign?

A: The more we think about what's happening in the world, things are really opening back up. Look at college football stadiums being so packed. People are really ready to get back and try to live a normal life. And so with the concept of the campaign, about 'Isn't it time?' and bringing back the lust for life and being able to live again, now feels like the right moment to bring this out. Also, just given all the safety protocols we have in place, the fact that everyone's tested before they get on, everyone eligible for vaccination is required to have it, it just seemed like the right time internally and what we're hearing in the market to bring this out.

Q: There is some pullback because of the delta variant. Is the campaign meant to remind people it is still safe to cruise?

A: It's letting people know that this is one of the safest vacations you can have. And so, if you're in that mode to take a vacation, we really should be at the top of your consideration. And we're very focused on 2022. The timing is perfect for us: It's after Labor Day, it's fall. So many people have put off their vacations for a couple of years now. There's this great opportunity that we have to help people really make that decision and get them over the hurdle to take their vacation, and do it in a very safe way.

Q: What does Celebrity mean when it says the campaign focuses on experiences not usually associated with cruising?

A: First of all, I think our brand offers that, especially the new Edge-class ships, which are really unlike any other cruise and the perceptions people have. Our rooms are bigger than most, our culinary offering is incredible. The whole retreat experience is really second to none, and so when you think about what you get when you visit resorts, it's very similar to that type of experience. 

And the other piece I would add is the diversity aspect we have. Within the spot we have people of all different backgrounds, whether it's sexual orientation or ethnicity or physically challenged. It's really showcasing a beautiful, diverse group of people. At the end of the day, that's who our customer is.

Q: And you said there would be more of this. What can we expect going forward?

A: I can't share everything, but there are some big initiatives that we'll be launching soon. But in general, it's just changing the way we're all thinking. One of the things that attracted me to the brand was the push around equality, inclusivity -- Capt. Kate [McCue] and what we've accomplished in terms of females on the bridge. I have two daughters, and so, for me, female empowerment is important. It's amazing how much the brand has done when it comes to diversity, and what we're trying to do moving forward is make it an even bigger deal. It could be things like involving more guests in content we create, having different partnerships and bringing them more to the forefront of what we do and communicate. But the foundation is there.

Q: Is this changing the way you market Celebrity, or is Celebrity changing?

A: Consumers evolve, constantly, and especially in the last year and a half, so what interests them, the type of content they like to look at, the messaging and emotion that they feel, it's evolved. And our perspective is we should be evolving with them. So we're not changing our positioning, but we know that our look and feel needed to change and relate better to what consumers aspire to and enjoy today. We are very excited to get this out and hope we can make a big impact on consumers and give them some peace of mind about a great vacation that they can enjoy. 

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