Carnival Cruise Lines passengers will star in a series of TV ads aimed at repairing the brand's image, which the company said has taken a hit this year.
In an ad campaign launching in the U.S. in September, passengers will describe why they like cruising with Carnival and what the company means to them.
The move is part of a broader effort by the cruise line to tout its improved safety measures (fueled by a $300 million investment in upgrading important features in the fleet) and boost its brand in the wake of February's fire onboard Carnival Triumph, which brought international media attention.
At a press briefing onboard the newly refurbished Carnival Sunshine, President and CEO Gerry Cahill said: “It's been a rough year for us."
The ad campaign is a radical departure from Carnival's usual emphasis on humor and “poking fun.” Instead, passengers will talk about their relationship with the cruise line, Carnival's chief marketing officer Jim Berra said.
“Our plan is to let guests tell us what the brand means to them,” Berra, who also was onboard Sunshine, said.
Berra said the company will focus on product and that the Fun Ship 2.0 enhancements – which are on eight ships – would continue to be rolled out on other ships. Carnival's next new-build -- the 4,000-passenger, 135,000-ton Carnival Vista, which is slated for delivery in 2015 -- also will feature the 2.0 enhancements.
“We're re-launching, re-engaging and heads down on product innovation,” he said, adding the line would focus on three areas: entertainment, dining and kids' facilities.
Cahill focused on the investments the company will make to its fleet, which include upgrades to its engines, generators and fire safety. Two ships already have been upgraded.
“We analyzed what changes we needed to make, and as (Sunshine) was in dry dock already, (Triumph and Sunshine) were the first ships that we made changes to.”
--By Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor