Cayman Islands Department of Tourism merges the real and the surreal in a new fashion-inspired tourism campaign from agency TRG courting the luxury traveler.
Four spots present the Cayman Islands as more of a luxury lifestyle brand than a traditional destination. In the first spot to launch, a couple paddle silently across a glowing body of water—a reference to the Cayman Islands’ bioluminescent bay. All of the spots feature a new Sarah McTaggart cover of the Bobby Darin song “Beyond the Sea.”
A second spot shows a mother and daughter walking down a Cayman pier as clouds drift below them and starfish sparkle above in the sky.
The creative team at TRG told Ad Age that the campaign is designed to stand out from the “sea of sameness” that characterizes most Caribbean advertising.
“The Cayman Islands offer a unique blend of luxury, mystique and sophistication for our typically more affluent travelers. So we positioned the islands more like a luxury fashion brand than merely another island with white sand, turquoise water and couples frolicking in the surf,” said Ron Henderson, group creative director (copy). He said the campaign “combines the natural wonder of Cayman with the whimsical, surreal imagery one might experience in the fashion world or in a dream. The evocative imagery—along with the music in the videos—appeals to the more sophisticated luxury traveler seeking out a more unique, dreamlike island experience.”
The spots were directed by Jeremy Charbit, who has a background in fashion.
“We wanted a director who could bring a fashion sense and dreamlike quality to the work,” said Dennis Walker, group creative director (art). “Jeremy has an impressive body of work that combines a wonderful sense of fashion with some beautifully executed surreal scenes. Perhaps the spot on his reel that most sold us—and the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism—was the underwater scene he created for Kusmi Tea, where an entire living room set was built underwater with people in fashionable attire performing graceful, choreographed movements in the water-filled room.”
Two more spots, “Ibis Chariot” and “Octopus Dress” will launch later in the year. See those below.
The production used mostly local talent for the cast and crew, and there’s also a Cayman connection with the music. Sarah McTaggart is the daughter of Stephen McTaggart, a well-known Caymanian folk singer, and her great aunt, Leila Elberta Ross-Shier, wrote “Beloved Isle Cayman,” the official national song of the Cayman Islands.
One of the more challenging parts of the shoot was obtaining the ideal boat to feature in the “Ibis Chariot” spot.
“Throughout the production, we relied heavily on our local team to find the perfect locations, people and props,” said Henderson. “To obtain the catboat used in ‘Ibis Chariot,’ our production team contacted one of the most famous captains and catboat builders in Cayman, Captain Crosby Ebanks, who also happens to be credited with the birth of the now internationally famous Stingray City, one of Cayman’s biggest tourist destinations.”
The boat had been landlocked for years, “so it needed a good deal of patching and sealing and painting to make it seaworthy,” added Walker. “The other small detail: The boat was on Grand Cayman, and the shoot was on Little Cayman—and the ferry operated one day a week. Fortunately, that one day was the day after the boat was found and a day before the shoot.”