Magazine article Marketing

ANALYSIS: Who Says Size Is Not a Strategy?

Magazine article Marketing

ANALYSIS: Who Says Size Is Not a Strategy?

Article excerpt

Billed as the largest cruise liner ever, the QM2 made a big impression at launch. But its challenge does not end there.

When launching a product it is always handy for marketers to have a few unique selling points to play with. So what about these? The longest, tallest, biggest passenger ship ever built, enthusiastically endorsed by the Queen, politicians and A-list celebrities alike.

That said, Cunard's launch marketing for the Queen Mary 2 has been exemplary.

Marketing's review of the media surrounding the naming ceremony on January 8 and the vessel's maiden voyage to Fort Lauderdale at the beginning of this week reveals blanket coverage, almost entirely positive in tone.

The result has been that QM2 is already being referred to as a British design icon in the vein of the London Eye or Millennium Dome.

Cunard, which had cutely predicted the comparisons, points out that the ship is more than two-and-a-half times longer than the height of the London Eye and that it would not squeeze into the Dome - the ship is 82ft longer than its diameter and the funnel too high.

Countdown to launch

Standing on the highest point of QM2 - the equivalent of a 23-storey building - watching the sun set over Southampton docks, it's easy to get carried away with this product.

But a hard-headed Peter Shanks, Cunard's senior vice-president Europe and its chief UK marketer, reveals this week's impact is the result of 15 months of meticulous planning. 'The really brave marketing decision was to build this ship in the first place. Since then we have made sure that excitement has been built, from the construction itself and the explanation of the product to specialist media, right through to the smashing of the bottle against the side,' he says.

Shanks, whose life has been dominated by the project since he joined Cunard from holiday brand First Choice in 2002, says the nature of the product always lent itself to PR, rather than ad, promotion. …

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