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All aboard #TheCruise

by Katy Howell

ITV’s ‘The Cruise’ is a documentary filmed onboard Princess Cruises ships and the three series aired this year showcased the Mediterranean, Caribbean and Alaska across 12 weeks of must-watch programming. Whilst the show takes place on Princess Cruise liners, it is a PR opportunity rather than advertising meaning the brand has little control over the content of the show and there are no consistent brand mentions.

The goal was to create a ‘social’ television experience with real-time participation around #TheCruise, encouraging positive sentiment around not only the brand but also cruising in general.

The opportunity then was to reach not only typical cruise audiences, but to reach wider, often younger, audiences that enjoyed the show.

Cutting through the social media noise around a TV show requires focus, stand-out and, on mobile, thumb-stopping content. We planned a three-stranded strategy:

· ITV’s ‘The Cruise’ showcases modern cruise holidays - changing old perceptions and inspiring new travellers. Social activity would extend hero programme segments that highlighted cruise benefits and therefore drive positive sentiment

· Our experience in reaching TV audiences via social told us that it was likely that viewers would turn to Twitter in particular during the show. By being part of the conversation, talking about what went on, using clips from the programme, all in real-time, we would garner greater engagement and feel like a natural extension of ITV

· As the show carried minimal branding, we needed to showcase the brand and encourage others to discuss Princess Cruises.

Perceptions were changed

Positive sentiment increased progressively throughout the 3 different destinations. The highest positive sentiment was for Alaska and Caribbean where we could clearly demonstrate the benefits of a cruise (both ship and destination).

Being part of the conversation

With many viewers returning regularly to the hashtag we got consistently high engagement. Princess Cruises content reached over 2,100,000 (2.1M) people and 29,566 engagements across both Facebook and Twitter

Championing the brand

Using analytics tools, we see Princess Cruises was mentioned the most (even above some of the key characters in the show). The campaign was engaged by both genders too (57% female and 43% male), with men mentioning the brand the most, whilst women talked more about passengers and crew. To add to this, as a direct result of clicks on the link to the site, 93% of website visitors were new users who had never visited the site before.

“We really owned the conversation and encouraged others to join in and use the hashtag too. We managed to achieve and, in some instances, exceed all targets we set ourselves including reach, engagement, sentiment and traffic to site so were very happy with the results.” – Laura Stone, Digital Marketing Manager.

Tags

social media
award winning
Social media campaign

Clients

Princess Cruises