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By Kendra Barnett | Senior Reporter

January 6, 2023 | 4 min read

The cruise line has released a boisterous and bright music video that brings viewers on a whirlwind tour of a day onboard a Virgin Voyage.

Virgin Voyages, the cruise venture started by the Virgin Group and Bain Capital, today rolled out a cheery music video for Culture Club’s iconic 80s hit, Karma Chameleon – cleverly re-imagined by R&B artist Drew Love.

Created in collaboration with creative agency VMLY&R, the spot, dubbed ‘The Voyage,’ promotes the soon-to-be-expanded cruise line. It also marks the 40-year anniversary of the debut of the original Karma Chameleon, which was released by Virgin Records – sister company to Virgin Voyages – and is among that record label’s all-time most successful songs.

The music video, directed by Jonas Akerlund, whose portfolio includes work for The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Beyonce and other A-list artists, brings viewers aboard Virgin Voyage’s Scarlet Lady ship, offering a glimpse into life onboard.

In the nearly four-minute film, passengers are seen making the most of the cruise ship’s offerings – relaxing on private balconies, roller skating, enjoying pool parties and soaking up the nighttime entertainment on offer. It closes with a spectacular firework display that sees the catchphrase ‘Now We’re Voyaging’ written in sparkles in the sky.

“We have won the hearts and minds of hundreds of thousands of sailors who have fallen in love with Virgin Voyages because we created an experience everybody could love,” Virgin Voyages’ chief brand officer Nathan Rosenberg said in a statement. “As we continue to showcase our ships to the world, we wanted to share what it’s like on board, based on what our sailors have told us and shared on social media. It features a real crew and is a celebration of travel and voyaging.”

The spot is the first installment of the brand’s newly-launched ‘Now We’re Voyaging’ campaign. It builds on the brand’s prior marketing efforts, which have similarly emphasized the cruise line’s suite of onboard amenities and entertainment offerings. It’s 2021 ‘Set Sail the Virgin Way’ campaign spotlighted Scarlet Lady’s ocean-view running track, on-deck pools, chic lounges, game halls, upscale restaurants and more.

Creatives at VMLY&R believe the new campaign speaks to the growing shift toward entertainment-focused – rather than sales-focused – brand marketing. As the agency’s co-chief creative officer, North America, Jason Xenopoulos put it in a statement: “Brands should create culture rather than interrupting it. ‘The Voyage’ is an example of how music and entertainment can be used to tell a brand story while delivering an authentic entertainment experience to the audience. Virgin Voyages deserves more than an ad campaign and we are delighted that we could create an entertainment experience instead – one that will live in a culture where this brand belongs.”

As it stands, the cruise company owns only two ships, both of which are slated for service in the Caribbean this winter. However, the brand is readying to expand its fleet: this year, it plans to add two new ships to the lineup. The forthcoming Resilient Lady will make its debut in Athens and is scheduled for its maiden voyage in May, while Brilliant Lady is expected to join the group later this year and will be based in San Juan, Puerto Rico. All four ships are nearly identical and can host more than 2,770 passengers each.

The ongoing ‘Now We’re Voyaging’ campaign seeks to bolster brand awareness and brand love ahead of the introduction of the new ships.

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