2021 Gold Travel and Leisure
08 Dec 2021
Campaign Name: Cunard: Navigating the Route to Recovery
When Covid-19 stopped travel, people’s cruise plans were put on hold. Reigniting guests' joy of sailing and driving advance bookings was key to Cunard's business recovery.
How to do this in a way that spoke to a premium audience with hugely diverse mindsets was the challenge.
The audience was not digital natives, preferring direct mail to other channels. They were identified as a mixture of past bookers, warm prospects and those who’d had cruises cancelled. The task seemed simple enough until the guests were asked for their thoughts.
Cunard heard loud and clear that the pandemic had stirred a wide range of feelings towards cruising and travel in general. From concerns around safety, apprehension about future bookings, frustration from previous cancellations and worries about an altered experience, to those who just couldn't wait to get back on board again, many different and conflicting mindsets meant it seemed impossible to segment them.
But one universal truth united them all: they were looking for permission to daydream, especially during the pandemic. So the strategy was to give them that permission, knowing that Cunard had their hopes and fears covered.
'Permission to daydream' was a wonderful strategic platform. No matter what mental barriers Covid-19 had put up, it could connect guests with their love of luxurious travel and innate sense of adventure, while navigating them through a sea of concerns.
The challenge was to create a piece of communication that would seduce them back to their love of sailing and help them remember why they fell in love with it - while calming the troubled waters of their minds.
Delivered through letterboxes was an Invitation to Exploration. Gilt-edged and on heavy stock, it inspired guests to look ahead with positivity and start dreaming about their next voyage. The luxurious brochure featured 20 pages of stunning destination photography, held together with a branded belly band and layered for a slow reveal.
Full-bleed photography created a sense of vast space and adventure, contrasting evocatively with the sense of small that lockdown created. The tone of voice was reassuring yet inspiring, and the attention to detail throughout echoed Cunard's service ethos.
A strong return to the seas: over £2m incremental revenue attributed to the mailing resulted in a 25:1 ROI, and unprecedented organic positive sharing on social channels from an audience usually reluctant to do so.
As well as a high volume of bookings and significant revenue boost, the campaign had a positive impact on driving sales direct via Cunard.com, improving revenue per booking and collection of valuable first-party data. This led in turn to a new guest segmentation and test and learn programme.
Armadillo - Linzi Hole, Group Account Director - Nancy Seogalutze, Account Director - Catrina Law, Associate Planning Director - Hannah Waters, Creative Director