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To Capture the Hearts of Media and Passengers, All We Needed Was LOVE...well, and a Little Social Media Networking Too…
Those big white cruise ships all look and seem alike to the uninitiated, and even savvy cruise travelers are heard to say "the lines are pretty much all the same – restaurants, activities, balconies, etc." With other cruise lines competing for the same travelers' dollars, we needed to identify a positioning that Princess could "own" and that would provide media angles that would be undeniably and intrinsically linked to Princess. Our solution? LOVE. With the line's historic ties to the famed TV series The Love Boat, and its Bermuda registry making it the first North American cruise line on which captains can marry couples at sea, "Romance" was the most sensible and compelling – and most importantly, authentic – positioning for Princess Cruises. To enhance this positioning, we conceptualized and created the Princess Department of Romance (DOR), comprised of high-profile experts on love and romance: Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Trish McDermott (founder of Match.com), Alex Michel (the original Bachelor from the popular TV reality series), Gavin MacLeod (Captain Stubing from The Love Boat) and Lisa Light, famed destination weddings expert and media celebrity. These romantic authorities are positioned as media spokespersons on Princess' behalf and we merchandised their alignment by creating a special section on the Princess website exclusively for the DOR (www.princess.com/romance). The DOR site provides an online venue for many of Redpoint's romance PR efforts, including finalist videos in our "Search for the Greatest Romantic" viral video contest, podcasts from each of the expert panelists, tips for creating a romantic vacation, and more. We leveraged the DOR experts with an extensive blogging campaign, which ultimately led to launching Princess' newest ship, Ruby Princess, with an entire romance positioning and an online partnership with USA Today. And in addition to securing Trista and Ryan Sutter – famed reality TV romantic celebrities who met and married on The Bachelorette – as christeners, we conducted an online search for a deserving couple who were invited to wed during the ship's naming ceremony. Media coverage for Princess Cruises authority on romance builds momentum every day, reaching nearly a half-billion consumers in the past year alone. Highlights include National Geographic Traveler, US Weekly, Life & Style, USA Today, New York Post, Brides Magazine, MSN.com, People.com, Miami Herald, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Houston Chronicle, numerous TV stations throughout the U.S., as well as hundreds of websites.