Royal Caribbean’s ‘Come Seek Live’ an innovative draw for millennials


Come Seek Billboard.

The range of activities passengers can do on a cruise was demonstrated for countless New Yorkers during their daily commute last week, as Royal Caribbean International streamed live images directly to outdoor ad screens on 230 subway kiosks and display spaces on digital newsstands.

Commuters learned they could dance in Martinique, feed a monkey in St. Kitts, go on a sailboat regatta in St. Maarten or go cliff jumping in Barbados.

All were excursions offered on Royal Caribbean’s 4,180-passenger Anthem of the Seas, which recently arrived at its Bayonne, N.J., homeport, as it toured the southern Caribbean.

The images were streamed via Twitter’s new video application called Periscope, a fast-growing social media platform. Royal said New York Transit officials believe it was the first time that its network of digital billboards has been used to show live video via Periscope.

Royal Caribbean’s “Come Seek Live” display at the Union Square subway station in New York. It featured streaming Periscopes and video images from the campaign’s TV ads. Photo Credit: Johanna Jainchill

Royal Caribbean’s “Come Seek Live” display at the Union Square subway station in New York. It featured streaming Periscopes and video images from the campaign’s TV ads. Photo Credit: Johanna Jainchill

Jim Berra, chief marketing officer at Royal Caribbean, said the outdoor effort was part of a larger bid to bust through advertising clutter with Royal’s “Come Seek” marketing message.

“In a world where consumers tune out a message if it is overly produced or directed, we want to show the experience as it is happening in real time,” Berra said before the campaign’s launch.

By streaming video to new-age billboards, Royal sought to target new-to-cruise millennial generation consumers with a type of technology that resonates with them. In addition to the videos, the displays featured running comments sent via Twitter, and a stream of colored hearts, the Periscope equivalent of Facebook “likes.”

New York was picked to pilot the marketing because it has the most advanced outdoor ad market in the country, Berra said.

Berra also said the New York project launches a new, more aggressive regional approach to marketing at Royal that, “given Anthem’s arrival and the fact that New York is a huge fly market into central and south Florida,” will continue throughout the year.

“Come Seek Live” ran from Nov. 13 to 20. During the run, Periscopes streamed three or four times a day on the displays, generally for an hour. They could also be seen via Twitter on mobile or desktop devices.

The rest of the time, the displays showed video images from “Come Seek” television ads.

The larger idea of “Come Seek” is to challenge stereotypes of cruising, tourism and the Caribbean.

To aid that process, Royal Caribbean enlisted several “influencers,” footloose social media nomads with high Twitter numbers. They included a group of 20-something Canadian lads who brand themselves as “High On Life” on YouTube travel videos, and Dan Moore, an Australian travel blogger. Each functioned as makeshift tour guides in the Periscope videos.

Sam McCully, vice president of marketing at Avoya Travel in San Diego, said the approach will engage the younger customers Royal Caribbean has focused on with “Come Seek.”

“Social media allows you to add another dimension in starting a conversation with people,” McCully said. “It’s no longer a one-way (communication); it’s very conversational, very two way.

“Especially the younger type of customer they’re targeting, those people are used to having direct engagement with brand, having a conversation with a brand.”

However, it is the outdoor dimension that really makes it different, McCully said.

“They’re not just shooting the content and putting it out there on their site and via Twitter, but there’s a live component in a key market. So they’re not just pushing the boundaries of social media, social marketing, but it’s also pushing the boundaries of your traditional outdoor advertising,” he said.

In terms of reaching new customers, “I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a major success,” McCully said.

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