Last updated: 10:19 AM ET, Thu October 15 2015

This Is Not a Cruise: Royal Caribbean's New 'Come Seek' Ad Campaign

Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | Royal Caribbean International | James Shillinglaw | October 15, 2015

This Is Not a Cruise: Royal Caribbean's New 'Come Seek' Ad Campaign

Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean International

This is Not a Cruise. You are Not a Tourist. This is Not the Caribbean.

Those are the messages being delivered by Royal Caribbean International in its new “Come Seek” advertising and marketing campaign, set to debut Oct. 19, which is being unveiled to travel agents and media in advance this week.

Royal Caribbean has launched a number of highly successful ad campaigns over the years, including its “Get Out There” series, featuring the Iggy Pop song “Lust for Life,” and “The Nation of Why Not,” among others.

Now the cruise company, known for its large and innovative ships, is staging its first completely new ad campaign in years, spending up to 35 percent more on advertising and marketing in the fourth quarter than it did last year and even more during Wave Season in the first quarter next year.

Royal Caribbean is using an integrated program of TV ads, including some innovative short spots, along with widespread use of social media, including live Periscope videos featuring the company’s cruises. While the initial campaign will focus on Royal Caribbean’s Caribbean sailings, future efforts will feature cruises in the Mediterranean, Alaska and other parts of the world.

The goal is to focus less on the shipboard experience and more on the adventure, exploration and discovery awaiting the cruise line’s guests, who are now dubbed “seekers” of experiences, rather than just cruisers. Royal Caribbean says “Come Seek” reflects the brand’s adventurous spirit by placing the traveler’s personal experience and point of view at the heart of the campaign.

Previous campaigns featuring Royal Caribbean’s high-tech and innovative Oasis- and Quantum-class ships emphasized the features available onboard, including ziplines, rock climbing walls, the FlowRider surf simulator and the RipCord by iFly skydiving experience, as well as technological breakthroughs like VOOM, which Royal Caribbean claims is the fastest Internet at sea.

The new campaign will refer to these innovations, but also will largely focus on the destinations and experiences delivered during a Royal Caribbean cruise. Indeed, the messages delivered—This is Not a Cruise. You are Not a Tourist. This is Not the Caribbean—are focused specifically on differentiating the company and its guests from other cruise experiences.

“Our mission is to disrupt and challenge misperceptions and invite the next generation of travelers to experience Royal Caribbean,” said Michael Bayley, Royal Caribbean’s president and CEO. “Our guests recognize that Royal Caribbean is an adventure designed to inspire and excite the senses. With our new campaign, we will show these travelers what our guests already know and love.”

Royal Caribbean says the new campaign is not only an invitation from the company for cruisers to “Come Seek,” but aims squarely at conventions that may inhibit continued growth in the cruise segment. The integrated marketing campaign includes broadcast, digital and outdoor advertising; public relations; social media; direct marketing; and trade advertising.

The multi-million dollar campaign will debut with a series of TV broadcast and online ads. A unique series of five-second “teaser” TV spots during such targeted shows as “The Voice,” “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon, and “Late Night” with Stephen Colbert will culminate in a full 30-second spot. Other media being used include ABC, NBC, Hulu, Amazon, Spotify, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, among others.

On the social media front, Royal Caribbean is turning to Periscope, the live video feed app, to broadcast a series of live videos that will appear on electronic billboards in New York City. These Periscope spots will be developed by Royal Caribbean crewmembers designated as Royal social media ambassadors.

“Come Seek” emphasizes that Royal Caribbean delivers adventure both onboard and with exciting and culturally rich experiences in Caribbean destinations and around the world. “Seekers” are introduced to these destinations with experiential excursions, such as an Ocean Racing Experience in Antigua, which matches two guest teams of six each with professional yachtsmen in head-to-head competition, and a Mountain Top Downhill Trek through historic plantation ruins in St. Maarten.

Jim Berra, Royal Caribbean’s chief marketing officer, says the campaign aims to break through the clutter to talk to the next generation of tech-savvy consumers—those who go everywhere online—and to differentiate Royal Caribbean from other cruise lines and other inclusive vacations.

According to Berra, the goal is to elevate the brand’s perception in the market, break cruise stereotypes, drive demand, and make the company’s marketing as exciting and innovative as its ships. Royal Caribbean is targeting millennials, but its campaign is not about age but mindset, focused on travelers who believe travel is a way of life and those who seek truly immersive experiences.

The new campaign also will have a travel agent component. Vicki Freed, Royal Caribbean’s senior vice president-sales, trade support and service, says the goal is to have agents embrace “Come Seek” and even potentially participate in social media components. In addition, the line’s sales efforts will now be aligned with the campaign, with traditional sales calls now referred to as Seeker Sessions focused on new opportunities to build business.

There also will be three campaign-related travel agent contests, including one launching this month aligned with the “this is not a cruise” theme to help agents sell the line’s unique cruise experiences; another debuting in December focused on “this is not the Caribbean,” which will test agents’ knowledge of the Caribbean; and a third in February next year aligned with “you are not a tourist,” though in this case it will be themed “you are not a travel agent” and will focus the unique services agents provide to their customers.


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