Carnival Corp’s Ads: Plan B

Carnival Corporation had been announcing on board its fleet of ships that during the Super Bowl it would debut a new series of ads and a new ad campaign.  They ran these commercials on cabin TV and invited folks to “win a cruise for life” by going online to vote for their favorite ad and give feedback.  The three ads, and only three, were “Cruise Virgins,” “Message In A Bottle,” and “Escape.”  All were a bit edgy, but particularly “Cruise Virgins” which featured suggestive tales of folks loosing their cruise virginity with every hand motion being suggestive in the genre of high school locker-room humor.

Obviously either the feedback they got was negative, or cooler heads prevailed amongst the “beards.” The “beards” is a somewhat derisive term coined by Carnival’s highly paid and official spokesperson, John Heald, Senior Cruise Director of Carnival Cruises to describe the upper management team at Carnival, somewhat of a misnomer anymore since the President of Princess (part of the Carnival Corporation fleet) and Carnival Cruise Line are both very attractive, and beardless, women.

So in the end they went with what looks like a quickly thrown together ad featuring the stammering voice of JFK rambling on about the sea and some “B-roll” footage, obviously shot for the three original commercials because it features the same actors, on the theme “return to the sea.”  One person who saw it called it, “So stupid!”  Well, see for yourself …

If The Purpose of An Ad Is to Get People Talking, for about $9 million to run the ad, not including production and agency costs, this one, “Come Back To The Sea,”  certainly got people yawning.  Hardly worth giving up a pee break or a trip to the frig for another beer.