P&O Cruises is on a mission to help audiences “reframe” cruising holidays with its first brand platform in 10 years centred around the power of human connection.
The ‘Brings Us All Together’ campaign, the first from creative agency Supermassive following its appointment in August, aims to cement P&O’s position as the market leader while evolving the 91-year-old cruise brand for modern consumers.
The TVC, which launched January 14, features an onboard choir comprised of local singing groups, past guests and brand fans singing an original arrangement of Fleetwood Mac’s iconic hit song ‘Everywhere’.
P&O marketing director Kieran O’Donnell told Mediaweek that the campaign aimed to “elevate the brand above the sea of sameness” in the cruise category and connect with new audiences that may not have considered cruises before.
“We have our key high-value segments like any other brand, but as an overarching view, we have two clear audiences that we are trying to grow. The first is those already with cruise intent, and this includes those people who have already been on a P&O cruise or are seriously considering a P&O cruise,” said O’Donnell.
“The other is people who are new to the cruise market, which is a significant opportunity for the brand. We know that cruising has all the ingredients for Australians to have a great holiday, and this campaign aims to showcase this to audiences who may not consider a cruise as something for them.
“We see friends booking cruises to celebrate birthdays, couples celebrating honeymoons or simply looking for a stress-free escape, plus a lot of intergenerational family trips, largely since we can cater for everyone from toddlers through to grandparents.
“So, in short, our target audience is everyday Australians, whether they have been on a cruise or are those that just need a little more of a nudge to try an iconic cruise experience with P&O,” said O’Donnell.
The campaign is tapping into ideas of togetherness in a bid to engage consumers seeking out more connections in the post-Covid environment.
“We want to become a beacon of connection in an increasingly disconnected world,” said O’Donnell.
“P&O has a unique ability to help guests forge deeper connections with their families, friends, loved ones, crew and even the fellow cruisers they meet onboard.
“With “Brings Us All Together” we want to create more than just a tagline, this will become a core part of our brand identity, reaching all areas of the business to inform our service proposition, onboard guest experience, and even our internal culture.”
This integration will see the campaign arrangement of ‘Everywhere’, which was created by Cameron Bruce, the musical supervisor on Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis and a member of the Paul Kelly Band, via Sonar, available to download on streaming platforms as well as integrated into the onboard experience including all “Sail Away” parties, where guests come together to celebrate the start of their voyage.
Post-Covid cruise market
The brand campaign comes at a significant time for the cruise industry, which has experienced strong growth in recent years against pre-Covid levels.
Australia’s cruise industry generated a record $5.63 billion for the economy in the last financial year – a 22% increase on the 2018/19 period, according to research by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and the Australian Cruise Association (ACA).
P&O Australia’s chief commercial officer Kathryn Robertson told Mediaweek, “There was a lot of pent-up demand for cruising in Australia after the industry was shut down for two years, to the point where we need to grow our offering and put on more sailings to meet the demand.
“This year alone, we will welcome a record half a million guests onboard a P&O with an estimated economic impact of $1.690bn inserted into the Australian economy, and we have further expansion plans in the works for 2025.”
It also comes as new competition arrives in the market, with the first Disney cruise ship sailing into Australia late last year to target families, while at the other end of the spectrum, Virgin Voyages, the adult-only cruises from Richard Branson’s Virgin empire, also arrived.
Despite the increased competition, Robertson believes P&O’s 91-year legacy in the local market gives it a strong competitive advantage over newer entrants.
“P&O pioneered cruising in Australia over 90 years ago, so we are experts when it comes to expanding and evolving our offering to meet the everchanging landscape and remain the nation’s favourite cruise line. While we are fortunate to be the market leaders, we are not ones to rest on our laurels, so the timing felt right, post the industry’s shut-down, to rejuvenate the brand to further drive consideration for both our P&O advocates and new potential guests,” said Robertson.
Bringing emotion to the category
One of the key strategies behind the campaign is targeting audiences who may have preconceived ideas about cruising and engaging them with the brand. Central to this is the emotive creative execution, which signals a significant shift for the category and ties the brand more closely with destination marketing brands. This shift is perhaps not surprising, given both Robertson and O’Donnell’s previous roles working for globally-recognised tourism brands Air New Zealand and Tourism New Zealand, respectively.
“The use of music and the creative treatment is also about tapping into the nostalgia of a ‘big ad’ campaign that is centred around a big emotive TVC. When you look back at Australia’s most iconic ads – including P&O’s ‘Take Me Away’ – they used music powerfully to create a moment of connection with audiences. That is what we want to achieve. We know that people feel less connected than ever, and P&O wants to be the brand that helps bring us all together.”
O’Donnell said the music choice was obvious.
“We selected Fleetwood Mac’s iconic “Everywhere” as a perfect fit to help us elevate the cruise experience and evoke the powerful emotions we create from our most-loved travel and holiday experiences with family and friends. The lyrics fit with our new positioning, and we want people to connect that feeling of connection and quality time with family and friends with P&O,” he added, “Also, who can resist that hook?
The campaign was directed by Justin McMillan with Austin Studio and will run across TV, cinema, outdoor, digital, and social media.
Client: P&O Cruises
Production Company: Austin Studio
Director: Justin McMillan
Edit: Arc Edit
Musical Director: Cameron Bruce
Sound: Sonar Music
Design: Common Design
Media planning and buying: CHEP