“Tearing Up Every Cliche:” Celebrity Cruises’ New Ad Campaign Breaks the Mould

Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Apex
The Celebrity Apex

My eyes well up every time I hear Louis Armstrong’s “It’s a Wonderful World.”  It’s happy, it’s sad… it’s wonderful.

A remix of Armstrong’s iconic ballad is the soundtrack to Celebrity Cruises’ groundbreaking – and multi-million dollar ad campaign designed to evoke emotion and get travellers back to cruising.

I admit it made me a little misty-eyed, too.

The new campaign’s tagline “Journey Safe, Journey Wonderfull” plays on the song title, and the fullness of a Celebrity Cruise vacation with people and places at the heart of a story with a sub-plot about rediscovering the beloved, missed experience of cruising – safely.

Amazingly, the spots were produced using only library footage and stock videography and “is, in part an allegorical tale of equality and diversity,” said Michael Scheiner, Celebrity Cruises’ new senior vice president and chief marketing officer.

“We wanted the audience to, yes, marvel at the rich fullness of a Celebrity cruise, but we also wanted to draw attention to the diversity of people who travel with us and who you meet on your journey. I think we as an industry need to do more to celebrate and accurately represent in our advertising everyone who travels.”

When the cruise line says it “aims to tear up every cliche and stereotype that exists about cruising,” it appears ‘tear’ has a double meaning: not only to shred stereotypes, but also to shed a tear of emotion.

Celebrity Cruises President and Chief Executive Officer Lisa Lutoff-Perlo addressed the emotion of the campaign: “It took enduring a pandemic, where we were literally cut off from each other and the world, to recognize how powerful and meaningful travel is in our lives.

“It’s not just a vacation.

“Travel is a journey – where our hearts and minds are filled with new people, new experiences, new realizations about ourselves and the world around us. And, as the first cruise line back in service in North America, we saw an opportunity to not just re-emerge, but reframe the Celebrity Cruise experience through this lens.”

“Our new advertising campaign poses a question, ‘isn’t it time?’ And with the time and care we have put into our new health and safety measures, we think it is. It is time to see the world and each other, again, on one of the safest vacations possible,” Lutoff-Perlo added.

The campaign’s television spot opens by posing the question, “How many precious moments have we missed?”, before taking the viewer on a 1-minute journey of experiences and emotions people – especially new-to-cruisers – might not associate with a cruise.

The cruise line is betting that the trifecta of messages: busting cliches about cruising, embracing inclusion and diversity, and cruising safely will resonate with consumers enough to book.

Even before the pandemic, on my own last Celebrity Cruise, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dondra Ritzenthaler, Senior VP of Sales, about the line’s commitment to diversity and empowering women, which we discussed was almost tailor-made for the Canadian market, where those themes have such broad national appeal.

The addition of post-pandemic safety seems to speak very much to the clients of Canadian travel advisors, too. Celebrity Cruises was an early champion of fully-vaccinated cruising, and Canadians and Canadian travellers have been, even more than their U.S. counterparts, ready to embrace COVID safety measures.

Celebrity’s campaign soft-launched last week beginning with targeting U.S. Open tennis fans. Versions of the spot air during NFL Football, online and in other channels.

According to Scheiner, marketing campaigns featuring cruising as an experience that melds luxury hotel, Michelin-quality dining, spa retreat, seeing all four corners of the world and meeting different people from different cultures… tears up every cliche and stereotype that exists about cruising, and this is just the beginning of this type of work.”

Learn more about Celebrity Cruises’ new campaign here on its web site.

Lynn Elmhirst

With a background in broadcast news and travel lifestyles TV production, Lynn is just as comfortable behind or in front of the camera as she is slinging words into compelling stories at her laptop. Having been called a multi-media ‘content charmer’, Lynn’s other claim to fame is the ability to work 24/7, forgoing sleep until the job is done. Documented proof exists in a picture of Lynn at the closing celebrations of an intense week, standing, champagne in hand - sound asleep. That’s our kind of gal.

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