Carnival Advert Viral in U.K.

| 1.28.13

A new television advert showing in Britain has become popular with the stuff upper lip crowd.

The "Switch on Fun" Carnival Advert in U.K.

Those of us who watch Downton Abbey tend to think of Brits as a reserved and punctilious population far more concerned with maintaining propriety than partaking in revelry. But they also have their naughty side, which is probably the reason this new advertisement from Carnival now showing on British television has gone "viral."

In theory, because we all speak English we should be able to understand everything they are saying, but in fact this commercial reminds me that Britain is a foreign nation -- because while I understand the words, I don't really fully comprehend their meanings.

It starts out by reinforcing an image that we Yanks have of Brits; "Ah Britain, land of rain, queues and contraflow systems." I had to look that up. A "contraflow system" is a traffic detour where drivers are guided to drive in lanes normally meant for traffic going the other way. Nice that they have a term for that, I suppose, but I doubt it will ever catch on here in Yankee-ville.

The ad further comments on British society, describing the populace as; "Indomitable, indestructible, irrepressible." It continues, "We know what we like, and we like what we know." I am also not sure what this last line means, but something tells me the Brits get it completely, but I am more impressed by the preceding five-syllable words. "Indomitable" is not a word I use every day. It means, "cannot be subdued or overcome - unconquerable."

But what follows next in the video is what makes the commercial fun and has reportedly made it "viral" in Britain; meaning people are sharing it and spoofing it in public. So, let's watch the commercial:

The "Fun Ship" Cruise Line

We all know that Carnival is known as "the Fun Ships," and we also know from watching Downton Abbey (for those who do not know, that is a Masterpiece Theater classic series on PBS similar to "Upstairs Downstairs.") that if there is anything British society is not known for it is "letting your hair down." But we also know that while the Brits appear decorous and proper in public, in private the Brits have a wild side that they secretly celebrate better than any society in the world. Witness the people in the Golden Lion Pub aboard the much more proper Cunard ocean liners enjoying a Guinness Ale for breakfast and you will see exactly what I mean.

And so, while it feels like a "contra-flow" to even pitch a Carnival cruise to the British public, this ad has caught on in a big way because it demonstrates what it takes to pull a Brit out of his shell of propriety and into a world of fun. NO offense to Royal Caribbean's light touch in their TV ads, but I just find the Carnival approach to be a bit nore memorable. Here is a recent Royal caribbean "The sea is calling" advertisement.

So, bottoms up, Britain. There are two Carnival ships in Europe this summer; the first year since 2007 that Carnival has had more than one ship in Europe - (some years they do not have any).

One of the ships is the newly remodeled and named Carnival Sunshine, essentially a brand new ship due to the thorough remodeling of the former Carnival Destiny. The ship has been fully remade for the new "Funship 2.0" onboard fun delivery system. This ship will stay in the Mediterranean most of the summer sailing between Venice and Barcelona. This ship is highly anticipated and the Brits get to see it first (largely because the thorough $155-million renovation is being done at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy).

The itinerary includes Barcelona, Monaco, Livorno, Rome, Naples, Dubrovnik, Messina and Venice. This cruise starts at just $879 (£ 559), $1579 balcony (£1005) for a balcony.

The other ship, sailing north on various trips to the North Atlantic, Norway and around the British Isles, is the Carnival Legend, and newer and larger ship which will be offering some of the best cruise values in Europe. A 12-day cruise from Dover to Norway, Edinburgh, Invergordon, Glasgow, Belfast, Dublin and Le Havre starts at just $1129 per person (£719) and $1729 (£1100) for a balcony.

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