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On Adam Aron's first day as captain of Kloster Cruise's Norwegian Cruise Line, he threw the ad campaign overboard.

Five months later, it was replaced with sexy and provocative b&w TV spots, set to the strains of "Blue Moon." One shows a woman caressing a man as he refreshes himself in an outdoor conch-shell shower; another shows a woman standing chest-deep in the ocean, sensuously eating a mango.

And how about that copy? Ads from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, discuss "making love at 4 in the afternoon" and "being naked more."

The $25 million campaign is trying to establish a more upscale positioning. And that bold shift in marketing strategy-and more than 100 product and service improvements-appears to have set the once-troubled No. 4 cruise line on the right course to regaining its former prominence.

Bookings for the second half of 1994 are up 15% over the previous year, says Mr. Aron, who was honored in Advertising Age's Marketing 100 in 1992 for his work as senior VP-marketing at United Airlines. That's quite a turnaround from Norwegian's 5% revenue decline the previous year.

"I made it very clear to Goodby on the first day that [the old] campaign was dead," says Mr. Aron, president-CEO of Kloster Cruise. In addition to Norwegian, he also oversees Royal Viking Line and Royal Cruise Line.

He makes no apologies for the sexy ads. "This is very attractive advertising, very unique to the category," he says. "It's breakthrough."

Also, he notes: "Sex has sold for a long, long time in this country."

Indeed, on sea and on land.

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