Carnival “Beach Ball”

Two decades ago, Infiniti caused a stir by becoming the first major auto advertiser to run commercials that didn’t show any cars. Now, Carnival Cruise Lines via Havas’ Arnold raises the bar, touting its voyages sans ships, oceans or tropical locales. It’s just as well, because we all know what cruise advertising looks like: Lots of taught, tan bodies filling out bathing suits more appealingly than mere mortals, frolicking and splashing and generally having a good time. Such pushes are pleasant but predictable and easy for consumers to tune out. And they often do nothing to differentiate one line from another. Carnival takes an entirely different direction, using documentary-style photography of street-marketing stunts to suggest the kind of fun travelers might have on a cruise. Some of the visuals, notably the brightly colored giant beach ball toppling from a gray rooftop in Dallas, are almost surreal. Risk, of course, always comes with a chance of failure. This campaign just broke, and it’s too soon to tell if consumers will enjoy the quirky approach and follow the bouncing ball to their local travel agents and book Carnival cruises. –David Gianatasio