Carnival Cruise Lines’ new network TV advertising campaign kicked off on Christmas with two 30-second spots designed to evoke the kind of spontaneous and spirited fun that underlies the Carnival vacation experience. The two spots were shot during events held recently in Dallas and Philadelphia in which Carnival set Guinness World Records for the world’s largest inflatable beach ball and the world’s largest piñata. The new commercials are part of the line’s new “Fun For All. All For Fun.” branding campaign intended to capture the unique essence of the Carnival vacation experience. The campaign was created by Boston-based advertising agency Arnold Worldwide. To develop the campaign’s creative concept, Arnold conducted an intensive study involving thousands of consumers, many of whom are Carnival customers, along with a number of health and lifestyle experts, to gain insight into the importance of fun in people’s lives.
“There is a difference between telling consumers you’re fun and actually being fun,” said Pete Favat, Arnold’s chief creative officer. “These commercials truly capture the essence of fun and you can’t help but have a good time watching them. We hope that this will create even more passion for the Carnival Cruise Lines brand among consumers.”
The new commercials are airing nationally on ABC, CBS and NBC, as well in select local markets on FOX, during primetime programming. You’ll also see them on several cable networks as well as in movie theaters nationwide and in various online channels. In the “Beach Balls” spot, members of the Carnival Fun Team inflate three gigantic beach balls, each measuring a world record-breaking 35 feet in diameter. They then roll the balls off the tops of buildings in downtown Dallas as thousands of people below come together to help bounce the enormous balls up and down the city streets. In the “Piñata” spot, the Carnival Fun Team assembles the world’s largest piñata in Philadelphia. Members of the community wake up in the morning to discover the gigantic, colorful donkey measuring over six stories tall, standing near a busy street corner. Thousands of people begin gathering to help break open the piñata, and celebrate in the 8,000 pounds of candy that showers down from the massive burro.
Carnival's “Fun Ship” marketing theme has been a success for several decades now. In Carnival's first-ever television ads that began airing in 1984, Kathie Lee Gifford showed what fun passengers have on a Carnival cruise while strolling around the ships and singing an upbeat in the morning, in the evening Carnival's got the Fun. Carnival ships even unfurled massive banners when they were in their homeports proclaiming “Carnival's Got The Fun!” (much to the annoyance of competing cruise line execs whose ships were berthed nearby). One of my favorite Carnival television ads in the past portrayed women on a cruise and featured the song “Girls Just Want To Have Fun”—that ad combined a catchy tune with action that was appropriate to the fun being portrayed and, to me, was highly successful. It captured my attention instantly and there was no question that it was a Carnival Cruise Lines ad. However, a giant piñata and a huge inflatable beach ball? For this diva, not so much.
So, if you saw the ads, what did you think? I saw the piñata ad three times during programs on ABC. Until the “Fun For All. All For Fun.” tagline and the familar winged funnel rolled into view, I wouldn't have recognized it as a Carnival commercial. And, as the head of another cruise line recently pointed, there's no need for “forced fun.”
The first rule of any writing, and especially travel writing, is “show, don't tell” and that’s what the ad I saw lacked. Sadly, I didn’t see what fun there is on a Carnival ship. Carnival IS fun, but the recent shoreside events and resulting commercials don't really have anything common with the onboard fun of a cruise vacation.