Cruise Lines Expand Voyages into Realm of Advertising

By Edwin McDowell N. Y. Times News Service | THE JOURNAL RECORD, October 29, 1997 | Go to article overview

Cruise Lines Expand Voyages into Realm of Advertising


Edwin McDowell N. Y. Times News Service, THE JOURNAL RECORD


Cruise line advertising is still a long way from reaching saturation levels, but it has been growing steadily for several years and shows every sign of continuing to set records.

Early this month, for example, Cruise Lines Industry Association, a trade group, began an $8 million yearlong campaign called "You haven't lived until you cruise." Norwegian Cruise Lines recently rolled out an ad campaign primarily aimed at travel agents that will cost nearly $1 million this quarter. (It will follow up with a national consumer ad campaign in January.)

And Royal Caribbean International is spending $5 million for sole sponsorship of the halftime show during the Super Bowl, to be held in San Diego on Jan. 25. The Royal Caribbean ads will be aimed in large part at extolling the pleasures of cruising on any of Royal Caribbean's 12 ships or on any of the five ships of Celebrity Cruises, which Royal Caribbean acquired last summer. "The challenge is to be seen as a global provider of vacation options, not just these two little cruise lines in Miami," said Mark Kammerer, director of marketing for Royal Caribbean. "Next year, our joint revenues will exceed $1.5 billion." The ads for Royal Caribbean are being created by McKinney & Silver, a unit of CKS Group in Raleigh, N.C. Celebrity is handled by Harris Drury Cohen, an agency in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that is also working on the Cruise Lines Industry Association campaign. Discounting concerns that the price it paid for the Super Bowl sponsorship is akin to putting all of Royal Caribbean's advertising eggs in one basket, Art Sbarsky, Celebrity's senior vice president of marketing, said that at least 85 percent of the millions who watch the halftime show on television have never gone on a cruise. Expanding on Kammerer's theme, Sbarsky said: "If we were just a cruise line, our sponsorship wouldn't make economic sense. But we're a huge vacation company." Seeing a backdrop of Super Bowl spectators basking in the San Diego sun in midwinter, he said, is likely to make those millions of television viewers think about vacations. If the ads do their job, that will translate into cruise vacations with Royal Caribbean or Celebrity. Sponsorship of the San Diego Super Bowl provides another benefit to Royal Caribbean. "The following year the Super Bowl will be played in Miami, our back yard," Kammerer said, "and we have the option for that halftime show." The previous campaign for Norwegian Cruise Lines -- "It's different out here" -- created by Omnicom Group's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco, won awards from the advertising industry. …

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