Following a complete shutdown of the cruise industry globally, we helped Celebrity Cruises navigate the choppy waters of suspicious media and nervous passengers.
In March 2020, the global cruise industry shutdown overnight. The tragic circumstances surrounding the Diamond Princess cruise ship which reported one of the first major outbreaks of coronavirus in Japan led to many countries barring all cruise ships completely within the space of a week. Share prices tumbled to the point where many forecast an end to the industry entirely, but with the advent of vaccinations, those most impacted are starting to see a way out of the mire to a normal resumption of service.
VCCP PR New York helped put travellers minds’ at ease, resulting in Celebrity Edge being the first ship to sail from a US port in over 15 months. We worked hard to ensure the sailing was positioned perfectly, balancing celebration with consideration – consideration of what had transpired over the prior 15 months and the need to reassure people that travel was once again safe.
Months of careful planning resulted in packages with all the major US networks (NBC, CBS, ABC and CNN) ensuring the message was loud and clear, ‘we’re back’. With the rigid vaccination and testing policy, coupled with the clear narrative – that there is no safer place to be in a post-pandemic world than on a Celebrity Cruise ship, we saw not only an immediate increase in passengers bookings, but also an immediate increase in share price.
As sailings resumed, more and more of the fleet was able to return to normal service. To ensure the brand was well placed to bounce back stronger than ever, we also used the pause in operations to take stock and reposition the company – that had for a long time been suffering from an existential identity crisis – as a truly aspirational, new-luxury brand.
The articulation of this was a brand new global advertising and marketing campaign developed by VCCP PR New York. The new strategic positioning, ‘Journey Wonderfull’ and resulting creative was expressed through a beautiful 60 second television commercial that ran in key markets all over the world.