Independent shop Ignited in El Segundo, Calif., has been named lead agency by Carnival's Princess Cruises for creative and media chores following a review.
Media spending last year in the U.S. for Princess was $10 million (excluding online initiatives), a big drop from $27 million in '07, per Nielsen.
Consultancy Select Resources International in Santa Monica, Calif., led the search.
The previous agency on the Princess account was IPG's Dailey & Associates in West Hollywood, Calif.
The move to Ignited reflects a shift in marketing strategy as Princess aims to engage its sweet spot of seasoned cruisers in the 45- to 70-year-old age range through the Internet. "Throughout the pitch process we were able to demonstrate that while the shift to a more digitally integrated marketing approach is new to them, it's what we do and do well," said Robb Hittner, group account director at Ignited.
Princess' main competition comes from Holland America and Celebrity Cruises. The tier offers upscale but not luxury voyages that tend to include longer voyages to international destinations. Consumers are likely to jump ship when a deal is dangled -- they're not particularly brand loyal.
"The boomer market is adapting to the Internet more each day; they're sharing photos and on social networks, not just e-mailing," said David deMerlier, vp, marketing at Princess, of the age-50-and-older stereotype. "You don't do Whopper Freakout for them. It's a different strategy, but there's a chance with digital media to tell a rich emotional story."
The transition to digital was partly an economic decision; it was also driven by media habits since cruisers research trips and meet up online. "We expect [digital] will be our dominant medium," deMerlier said. "It might be our only [one]."
He said the focus will not be to shift the nature of the work to an online-selling platform, but to evoke more experiences and offer information. And the decision didn't hinge on who came up with the best tagline. "It was more of a review about who could best help us market digitally than 'We need new creative-show us a great campaign!'" deMerlier said.