Y&R'S BRAND EVALUATION WINS IT NORWEGIAN CRUISE: SUCCESSES WITH MARKETERS LIKE SEARS ALSO LEAD TO $20 MIL WIN

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For Norwegian Cruise Line, a strategic plan proffered by Y&R Advertising could finally be the map to new treasures.

The line last week named the Chicago office of Y&R to its estimated $10 million to $20 million account. Cinching the win was Y&R's use of its Brand Asset Valuator, a proprietary product that gauges brand equity and value, said Nina Cohen, VP-marketing with Norwegian.

SUCCESSFUL POSITIONING WORK

Ms. Cohen had worked with Y&R's New York office during her time with upstart Disney Cruise Line. But she also noted the agency's positioning work for H&R Block, United Airlines and Colgate-Palmolive Co.'s Colgate toothpaste, and particularly its success turning around Sears, Roebuck & Co.

"It was essential to have business-building experience," she said. "And Sears is front and center in terms of relevant."

In late May, Y&R executives presented preliminary branding and strategic work that revealed the disparities between how passengers and travel agents feel about the Norwegian Cruise Line brand, and how line executives would like those audiences to feel, Ms. Cohen said. She would not elaborate on the findings.

"This is the age-old question: We think we know who to talk to; now we need to find a way to communicate the NCL differences," she said.

Y&R was selected based on the branding work, without submitting any spec creative.

The agency did extensive research that was "very useful" in determining the brand equity of Norwegian and its target audience, said Patricia Cafferata, president-CEO of Y&R's Chicago office.

She did not elaborate on the strategy.

AWARDS BUT EMPTY CABINS

Norwegian and previous agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, won a raft of creative awards for the "It's different out here" campaign. But the work ultimately failed to help fill cabins at the struggling cruise line.

Ms. Cohen said Goodby's branding work wasn't relevant to cruise passengers.

Y&R will break trade magazine advertising in the fourth quarter, with consumer print and TV scheduled to hit in first-quarter 1998.

In line with one of the first changes Ms. Cohen made after arriving at the line in March, newspaper and collateral ad efforts continue to be handled in-house.

Contributing: Mercedes M. Cardona.

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