Royal Caribbean christens new baby boomer effort

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Royal Caribbean International launches an estimated $80 million campaign the week of Jan. 17 that portrays cruising as a vacation for young, intrepid adventurers rather than fogies bathed in sunscreen nursing umbrella drinks on the Lido deck.

With new spots that show exotic destinations--rather than just a ship's amenities--the cruise line hopes to attract passengers as young as 35, in addition to the 50-plus crowd that tends to book its cabins.

To lure those travelers, the energetic ads use the new "Like no vacation on Earth" tag and the theme "Get out there." Set to pulsating music with shots of the Egyptian pyramids and Italy's Amalfi Coast, the ads also feature moped riders in Rome, and rock climbers and para-sailers in Corsica. The commercials target baby boomers, who, as they age, are seeking more experiences and adventure than did their demographic a decade earlier, said Pete Favat, group creative director for Royal Caribbean's agency, Arnold Communications, Boston.

"They are going to be much younger--in their minds--than the elderly population ever has been. This generation is trying to stay as young as possible as long as they can," he said.

Boomers last year accounted for more than half of all cruisers, according to the Cruise Lines International Association, a trade group.


In a bid to whet their thirst for adventure--and love of creature comforts--Royal Caribbean launched the world's largest cruise ship, Voyager of the Seas, in November, offering first-of-its-kind amenities such as a rock-climbing wall and an ice-skating rink. In October, a similar ship, the Explorer of the Seas, will set sail, to be followed in 2002 by the Adventure of the Seas.

The spot was due to break Jan. 16, but will air in earnest starting today on national and cable TV. Three additional 30-second commercials, all with the "Get out there" theme, start in early February. The company will spend about $40 million on media, and will match that sum with an integrated marketing campaign including direct mail, promotion and interactive.

The outlay is a big increase from the first nine months of last year, when the company spent $24 million on measured media, compared with $30 million spent in 1998, according to Competitive Media Reporting.


Print ads will launch in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue that hits newsstands in February, along with other consumer and travel magazines starting in April.

The effort is timed to what the cruise industry calls its "wave period" of post-holiday doldrums and cold winter weather, when about one-third of cruises are booked, said Pam Hamlin, Arnold's group account director.

This is Royal Caribbean's first work from Arnold, which won the account in late September from McKinney & Silver, Raleigh, N.C. Royal Caribbean consolidated its account with Arnold, also awarding the agency its $12 million print buying duties, previously at Media Edge, New York. Earlier this month, parent company Royal Caribbean Cruises decided to leave most of its estimated $50 million media buying account for Royal Caribbean International and sibling Celebrity Cruises at Media Edge after a review.


Royal Caribbean Cruises ranks No. 2 in the industry and is expected to see a 21% jump in revenue this year to $3.1 billion, according to Southeast Research Group.

Carnival Corp., the world's largest cruise company, operates the Carnival, Cunard and Holland America lines. It is projected to see a 16% jump in revenues this year 10 $4.1 billion, according to Southeast.

Copyright January 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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