Cruise industry turns to News Corp in ‘giant’ marketing drive to dispel myths

Big Splash PublishingThe Australian cruise industry is to launch one of its largest marketing crusades in a bid to debunk myths about cruising, and has joined forces with Sydney publisher Big Splash Media to produce a 32-page glossy magazine with a print run of two million copies.

The publication, Discover, will be inserted into News Corp newspapers across the country on Sunday August 31 that will deliver an estimated readership of four million, according to the Australasia branch of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the industry body which is behind the campaign.

Distribution will coincide with Cruise Week, a week-long marketing drive by CLIA, when cruise lines will release a range of promotional offers to drive sales.

Big Splash Media managing director and publisher Peter Lynch, a former executive at Fairfax, said the magazine will be supported by content on News Corp’s digital platforms by way of an e-book and through its own website.

He told Mumbrella the decision by CLIA and Big Splash Media to go with News Corp ensured distribution on a national scale that couldn’t be matched by his former employers.

“The footprint of Fairfax has shrunk considerably, particularly on a Sunday and that is the key travel decision day,” Lynch said, adding that Sunday newspapers are enjoyed by a cross section of readers. “Whatever was said by my former colleagues at Fairfax, they do not have a monopoly of AB readers, they just don’t.”

He declined to reveal the cost of the campaign although it will run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“I have never been befriended by so many printers,” Lynch said, who also publishes Carnival, Australia, Self-Managed Super and Cruise Passenger.

The costs have been shared between locally-based cruise lines, including P&O Australia and Carnival Australia, and international companies like Royal Caribbean and Silversea, many of  which operate voyages to and from Australia.

Content of Discover will be aimed primarily at consumers who are new to cruising while efforts will be made to address commonly-held negative perceptions of cruising, such as a lack of things to do onboard and its propensity to attract the elderly.

“This is an industry push with the message that cruising has changed ,” Lynch said. “The industry is really determined to get rid of some of the myths that surround cruising in one giant push. We hope this is going to change the mindset of consumers.”

Cruise lines which have invested in the magazine will judge the ROI on sales during Cruise Week, which runs from September 1 to 8.

“Cruise marketers are extremely scientific about what their expect back,” Lynch said.

The campaign will also include print advertising in New Zealand while CLIA will launch a social media push through Facebook later this month.

The Australian cruise industry has enjoyed a remarkable renaissance in recent years with more than 830,000 Australians taking to the high seas in 2013, a rise of 20 per cent on the previous year.

Initial targets of hitting one million cruisers by 2020 are now expected to be realised by 2016, and possibly sooner.

Steve Jones



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