Aron has scrapped the playful 'Elegant, yes. Stuffy never' campaign and ordered a complete remake on an 80-page promotional booklet that was ready for the printer. The new course comes as Aron tries to reposition NCL for a more upscale market.
'We're very excited about the new campaign,' said NCL's director of marketing Joan Di Pietro, who said that the company worked closely with GBS to develop the new strategy. 'We're moving forward with the new advertising and Goodby, Berlin & Silverstein.'
As part of a heightened marketing effort, Aron is also expected to boost ad spending to between $25 million and $30 million in 1994.
The company had planned to make such an increase in 1993, but held off because operational problems would have prevented NCL from handling the anticipated increase in traffic.
The new ad push by Aron is concurrent with the addition of new ships, new itineraries and improved amenities. On his first day on the job Aron ordered such cabin upgrades as fruit baskets, pillow mints and an embarkation luncheon.
GBS is expecting final approval on the new campaign this week.
The work ahead for the new ceo is no small task as he tries to shore up finances. Kloster once boasted the largest share of the cruise market, but during the last 10 years its position slowly sank to third. Earnings began eroding in the late 1980s, and in 1991 the firm posted a $19.9-million loss. NCL has since reversed its fortunes and last year posted a $13.6-million profit but still must contend with nearly $1 billion in debt.
Though the firm recently completed a refinancing, the heavy debt load complicates Aron's mandate to improve earnings. Even so, Aron has earned a reputation for being an innovative and aggressive marketer with the skills to do just that. While marketing vp at United Airlines, Aron added Beluga caviar, Dom Perignon champagne and Godiva chocolate to first-class service. As a senior vp/marketing for Hyatt Hotels he created a resort division.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)