The Sea is Calling

| 12.12.11

Royal Caribbean will be rolling out a new national ad campaign starting December 19 and fully engaged by January 9.

Royal Caribbean will be rolling out a new national ad campaign starting December 19

The Sea is Calling
Royal Caribbean is about to embark on a brand new advertising strategy with a new tag line - "The Sea is Calling Answer it Royally." The new campaign will appear in posters and online first, and will eventually reach print and television in January. It can already be seen at A new "micro-site" is already online at

Certain media members were treated to a sneak peak of all the videos in a conference call this morning. Each one features someone picking up a conch seashell and listening to it to "hear the ocean" as the conch legend goes - but in this case they hear "the sea" talking. It says "this is the sea, would you like to see me?" People engaging in conversation are told they will be pampered, and treated royally with massages and the like.

Royal Caribbean's Betsy O'Rourke told us this will replace "Get out There" and "The Nation of Why Not". She mentioned the advantage of the new ad is that it translates much better, making it a more global message. She noted that "The Nation of Why Not" did not translate well, because some foreigners perceive Royal Caribbean as an American company, and that the ads became "politicized." She said "Get Out There" also had similar translation problems.

But using telephones is now a universal action, especially since the worldwide spread of cell phones, and the notion of hearing the ocean picking up a conch shell to hear the ocean is also a traditional concept.

The actual ads have clever tag lines like "Not 3G. Sea G." and "You don't recharge it. It recharges you."

Images in the ads include Royal Caribbean cruise ships and island destinations, especially in the Caribbean. The ads are rolling out in conjunction with "wave season" when the cold weather in the midwest and east coast lead to more cruise bookings.

O'Rourke said the new ads, in preview at right now, will start rolling out on the Internet on December 19th with "rich media" - meaning ads that include video. They will go into print on posters in various cities on January 9, 2012. She said she hopes they will allow Royal Caribbean to increase awareness and eventually drive prices higher. Prices throughout the cruise industry are once again far below normal.

If you compare this to the new Norwegian Cruise Line ads which have started appearing on television and in print lately, you see a far different approach. Norwegian's new tag line is "Cruise like a Norwegian." That is a very nation-specific message. Royal Caribbean conducted world-wide focus-groups in order to try to understand what kind of message will translate to the largest world-wide audience, and have dismissed the "nation of why not" because it became too politicized.

Royal Caribbean showed us people in focus groups pointing out that the two words "Royal" and "Caribbean" were incongruous, or an "oxymoron" as one participant described the phrase. But they liked the image of being treated "royally" in the casual and comfortably warm Caribbean.

Below are some pictures of the clips taken from the conference call. You can see the actual videos at the microsite

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