Wednesday, 15 April 2015

The end of ‘Cruise Like a Norwegian’?

The end of ‘Cruise Like a Norwegian’?

It looks like we won’t be cruising like Norwegians for too much longer.

Norwegian Cruise Line has put its creative and media accounts up for review. According to Ad Week, the current account holder, the Martin Agency, declined to participate in the review. 

The move follows close on the heels of the departure of Maria Miller, the Norwegian senior vice president for marketing, who was behind the line’s “Cruise Like a Norwegian” slogan.

Devised after Martin won the business in 2011, the campaign celebrated vacationers who embodied the “passion, freedom and flexibility” of the company’s Freestyle Cruising concept.

“Cruising like a ‘Norwegian’ is for those who live life to the fullest, embrace new adventures and are passionate about their experiences,” is how the concept was described on announcement.

It coincided with a campaign by former Norwegian CEO Kevin Sheehan to root out use of the abbreviation NCL, which Sheehan thought was not understood by most potential guests.

Whether “Cruise Like a Norwegian” was any better understood is something I’ve always been curious about.

I’ve interpreted the slogan as a kind of creative conceit that imagined this group of fun and intrepid people that Norwegian chose to call “Norwegians.” Taken in those terms, cruising like them made some sense.

Taken in literal terms, it is hard to imagine that the average consumer would know anything about how someone from the country of Norway cruised. Why would they want to cruise that way? Too literal, perhaps, but for someone new to cruising it could have been a head-scratcher.

The campaign did have the virtue of pounding home the name of the brand at every turn. It would be hard to watch the company’s current ads, with their lively “Let’s Go” theme music and catchy “Cruise Like a Norwegian” coda at the end, and mistake them for an ad from some other cruise line.

Then, too, ad campaigns run their course over time. After four years, the mileage on “Cruise Like a Norwegian” was starting to pile up. Norwegian spent $33 million last year on measured media, according to Kantar Media, spreading the gospel on Freestyle Cruising.
Now Norwegian has a new president in Andy Stuart, and its parent company, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, has a new CEO in Frank Del Rio. They’re entitled to a marketing theme of their own.