Cruise line to hit TV for first time as research provides ‘wake-up call’ for Royal Caribbean

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 11.31.00 AMCruise line Royal Caribbean is to launch its first TV crusade in Australia after describing research which showed a lack of awareness for the brand as a “wake-up call”.

Commercial director Sean Treacy admitted egos were damaged at the results of a survey which found consumers who had not cruised before knew next to nothing about the company.

“What was really surprising, and frankly a little damaging to our egos, was that people who are new to cruising can’t tell one cruise brand from another,” he said. “They are merely comparing one big white ship with another and they find it difficult to tell the difference between the likes of us, Princess Cruises and most surprising, P&O.”

He said Royal Caribbean will take to the TV screens before the end of the year in a bid to raise awareness of the brand and to showcase onboard activities. “We have been too quiet for too long in Australia,” Treacy said.

He declined to reveal details of the push but confirmed production was underway with the ads to air “shortly”. It is working with creative agency Holsbosch on the campaign that will also include print and digital executions.

The print element of the campaign, called ‘It’s Royal Caribbean Time’, kicked off earlier this month with the crusade set to gather momentum as the cruise season gets into full swing.

Treacy, who relocated from the US to Sydney in June, declined to reveal the marketing investment but confirmed it was a “multi-million dollar campaign”.

Speaking to Mumbrella at an event in Sydney today, Treacy said the rapid growth of the Miami-based cruise line, whose Australian operation has expanded from one ship to four over the past seven years, meant it needed to attract new cruisers, with the TV push aiming to “bring to life what it’s like to experience” a Royal Caribbean ship.

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 11.30.31 AMThe research, the first it has carried out in Australia, found those who had cruised on its ships “loved us” but people yet to take a voyage had little knowledge of the product.

“The lack of knowledge about the brand was a wake up call,” Treacy said. “It was interesting to arrive in Australia and find that while we are popular, and our sales are a test to this, our brand just isn’t as well known or understood as it is in the US.

“We found while people who have travelled know and love the brand those who have not  have very low awareness about what sets us apart from the competition.”

Treacy said the TV push will “expose us to new audiences” as it looks to fill an increasing number of cabins in Australia.

“We need to find new way to to bring the diverse and imaginative qualities of Royal Caribbean to the attention of the growing market of new cruise holidaymakers in Australia,” he said.

While flagging “big changes in our approach to marketing and advertising campaigns”, Treacy sought to reassure print media that it would continue to use newspapers and magazines to promote its product.

“Those working in the print media need not be afraid about our move onto smaller screens,” he said. “We’ll continue to advertise in a wide variety of print publications and their online digital versions. This remains one of our strongest mediums.”

He added that the research found passengers liked the ‘”international feel” of its voyagers whereas other cruise lines have introduced Australian brands to entice local passengers.

“Much has been said about the Australianisation of other ships but what our research found was that adding VB and Vegemite isn’t what our passengers want,” Treacy said. “They love international travel, they love trying news things and new experience and they like the international feeling they get when they cruise with us.”

Royal Caribbean will also increase its social media presence and will run a competition on Facebook offering 50 places on a one-night cruise in December.

Steve Jones


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