By Barry Janoff
December 18, 2014: Move over automakers. Another mode of transportation is heading to the Super Bowl.
Carnival Cruise Line said it would air a Super Bowl commercial for the first time in company history with a spot on NBC this February during the broadcast of Super Bowl XLIX.
Carnival said the 60-second ad would be part of parent company Carnival Corp.'s recently launched multi-brand marketing campaign, which for the first time incorporates all nine of its global brands under the banner, "The World's Leading Cruise Lines."
The Super Bowl spot will come from among four commercials currently in production, via lead agency BBDO Atlanta, with the winning spot to be decided by votes from visitors to a dedicated Web site.
The commercials are being directed by Wally Pfister, whose work in Hollywood dates back to 1991 with a resume that includes director of photographer on such films as Moneyball, Memento, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins and Inception, which earned him an Oscar in 2011.
The overall marketing campaign features six TV spots, digital and social media.
Via an "interactive crowd-sourcing contest" fronted by Cedric the Entertainer, consumers across North America are being given the opportunity to provide input on Carnival's new advertising creative and to vote for their favorite creative concept, with a chance to win a grand prize of a yearly cruise for life. (Details here.)
The news comes on the heels of Christine Duffy being named president of Carnival Cruise Line, which has a fleet of 24 ships. Duffy, currently president and CEO for Cruise Lines International Assn., will assume the role on Feb. 1, not coincidentally the same day as the Super Bowl in the University of Phoenix Stadium.
According to Carnival, the Super Bowl spot will come from one of these four spots: "Getaway" (which follows a woman who races away from such stresses as her boss, mother-in-law and the dentist and toward a Carnival ship), "Cruise Virgin" (people talk about their first cruise experience), "Message in a Bottle" (which relates special moments in cruising via a message in a bottle) and "Mystery Spot" (which Carnival said "contains a surprise that will remind people just how special the sea can be").
Thirty-second spots during Super Bowl XLIX are going for upward of $4.5 million, according to industry analysts.
"There is no bigger stage than the Super Bowl for telling our story, and we're excited about the opportunity to start a new dialogue with consumers about cruising and use their input in helping us pick the creative concepts," Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corp., said in a statement. "With this phase of the marketing initiative, we want to capture what is so special about cruising and sailing in the open sea."
Carnival Corp. includes Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Holland America and Cunard.