Advertising Age reported Princess Cruises named Goodby Silverstein & Partners as its new lead agency. The cruise line has been handling its marketing in-house—and the company website looks like it was created in a shithouse. It’s unclear if the assignment involved a pitch, as the hiring of GSP appears to be the sole decision of recently appointed SVP of Marketing Gordon Ho. Ad Age noted that twenty-five years ago, Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein reached a major milestone when landing the Royal Viking Cruise Line account, besting mentor Hal Riney after a shootout. Today, GSP is in a titanic network, sailing off with a third-rate cruise account. Lower the lifeboats.
Goodby Silverstein & Partners Gets Princess Cruises Account
Marks a Return to the Category; Omnicom Shop’s First Big Account Was a Cruise Line
By Rupal Parekh
Twenty-five years ago, Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein got their first big break when they landed the Royal Viking Cruise Line account, which at the time spent $10 million, almost all of it print advertising.
Back then, it was a big deal—especially because they won the business in a pitch against Hal Riney, their ad mentor. Fast forward to today, and Goodby Silverstein & Partners is getting back into the cruising industry.
The Omnicom Group shop has been named lead agency for Princess Cruises and will be responsible for an integrated marketing push that launches in early 2014.
GSP was brought on by a new top marketer at the cruise line, Gordon Ho, who joined in June. He earlier in his career spent 18 years at the Walt Disney Company where he last served as executive vice president of worldwide marketing for its $4 billion Disney Studios Home Entertainment division.
“In looking for a new partner to help with our advertising and marketing growth, we wanted an agency with solid experience and proven results,” said Mr. Ho, svp-marketing, in a statement. “The team at Goodby Silverstein & Partners not only brought a strong reputation, but most importantly impressed us with their strategic thinking and the creative direction they presented to not just differentiate but distinguish the Princess Cruises brand.”
Princess has been handling the bulk of its marketing in-house though a few years ago it was working with California-based shop Ignited. The move to bring on outside advertising help comes not only as Princess is facing increased competition both in the form of promotions and new product offerings across the cruise line industry, but also as cruising overall has taken a PR hit as Carnival Cruise Lines has faced several high-profile mishaps.
“I’m not a spokesman for the industry but if you’re going to take your family to Alaska, it’s a great way to do it,” said GSP’s co-chairman, Mr. Silverstein. “In general, there’s a lot of things you can see on a cruise that you just can’t see another way. It’s a romantic way to see the world to be floating on the water. We live in places where electricity is everywhere and to be on the open water and have nothing but dark and stars—where else are you going to get that?”
He added that Princess hasn’t done “major brand advertising in some time, so we have a chance to reintroduce this brand to the travel industry and the world…with travel there are a lot of choices, and it’s our job in advertising to explain why our option is relevant.”