VB&P and Celebrity Cruises Play a Round of Marco Polo

By Patrick Coffee 

Back in September, we learned that Venables Bell & Partners was the champion in the latest round of cruise line reviews, winning AOR duties for Royal Caribbean’s Celebrity Cruises line (which had worked on campaigns in-house).

If you’re keeping track: Norwegian went to BBDO Atlanta; Figliulo & Partners won Seabourn; and Mullen Lowe scooped the larger Royal Caribbean brand. Interestingly, Celebrity also picked Accenture as its digital AOR, which explains why the consultancy has been hiring executives away from DigitasLBi.

This week VB&P debuted its first work for Celebrity, and the anthem spot takes the form of a familiar childhood game.


The key difference? These are Celebrity staffers calling “Marco?!” to those bold travelers who might answer to “the call of modern luxury.” You know, the upper classes.

Note the increased emphasis on the X in the client’s logo, which marks the spot where luxurious travelers can get their international fix. The release tells us that this campaign is an entry into pending work “that awakens ‘life in the X.'”

Chairman Paul Venables calls the campaign “a recruitment drive” for membership in this particularly refined society:

“We are calling out to not just those who cruise but to all modern luxury travelers…we have to break the usual category conventions to serve that up to discerning vacationers.”

Interesting that the first ad focuses on employees rather than customers, isn’t it?

The work will include “a significant push through TV, digital and social,” with the client’s in-house team handling much of the digital and social features like #CruiseChat and a share-everything approach to Twitter and Facebook.

So far, VB&P’s contribution also includes print ads following the same extra-fancy theme.

celebrity cruises print 1

celebrity cruises print 2

For future promos, expect “paid and organic media as well as static mosaics and carousels on Instagram, promoted tweets on Twitter, and dynamic product ads on Facebook.”


Client: Celebrity Cruises
Ad: Marco Polo
Agency:  Venables Bell & Partners
Founder, Chairman: Paul Venables
Partner, Executive Creative Director: Will McGinness
Creative Director: Erich Pfeifer
Senior Art Director: Rich North
Senior Copywriter: Ryan Hoercher
Director of Integrated Production: Craig Allen
Executive Producer: Mandi Holdorf
Agency Producer: Ryan Wilson
Director of Art Production: Jacqueline Fodor
Executive Strategy Director: Lucy Farey-Jones
Senior Brand Strategist: Mike Riley
Motion Designer: Victor Bivol, Zac Wollons
Production Company: Humble
Directors: Samuel and Gunnar
Director of Photography: Carlos Veron
Executive Producer: Mark Kovacs
Editing Company: Exile
Editor: Elliot Graham
Sound Design: 740 Sound
Sound Designers: Scott Ganary and Jeff Martin
Music: SOUTH
Mix: Lime
V/FX: The Mill
V/FX Producer: Antonio Hardy
G/FX: Lumberyard
G/FX Artists: Victor Bivol and Zac Wollons
Business Lead: Colleen McGee
Account Supervisor: Krista Muir
Account Manager: Ariel Rosen
Assistant Account Manager: Francesca Robertson
Project Managers: Talya Fisher/Leah Murphy
Director of Business Affairs: Susan Conklin
Proofreader: Michael Rosenthal
Studio Manager: Jennifer Trull
Studio: Will Larsen, Natalie Cowan