by Patricia Mack
Royal Caribbean International’s biggest cruise ship, Allure of the Seas, is the star of two new films in a marketing experiment using social media to reach out to potential customers. With the star power of Jenny McCarthy and James Brolin — the directors and leads of the movies — Royal Caribbean has invented a new marketing form that might best be described as reverse product placement.
The stories are secondary to the location — and the location, of course, is a gorgeous cruise ship. In McCarthy’s winning little romantic tale, “The Allure of Love” two friends hatch a plan to bring a couple — Annie (McCarthy) and Bradley (Scott Elrod) back together after a nasty breakup. The onboard romance is set against dazzling sunsets, island retreats and ship nightlife — all very appealing to a certain demographic highly desirable to the cruise line. Brolin’s tale, “Royal Reunion” is a multi-generational family film centered on a 40th Anniversary celebration.
“It’s a whole new thing for us,” said Adam M. Goldstein, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean. “We wanted to find a way of placing our brand, but in wonderful cinematic stories while highlighting the variety of cruising experiences one can enjoy on Royal Caribbean. That’s why we commissioned these short films and we are very pleased with the result. We think of them as another chapter in our own story.”
Not only are the films an innovative means to reach the audience, but the media itself is a form more likely to be accessed by a new generation of travelers. They can be seen on Facebook, YouTube, and the Royal Caribbean site at www.RoyalCaribbean.com/OceanViews
“We hope they go viral,” said Brolin, who concedes that he’s less than adept with all social media. “I don’t Twitter, but Jenny does. She’ll be the expert there.”
He was attracted to the story about the family for its light comedic touch, but wanted to create a “little trouble,” he said. And that “trouble” comes in the form of Nicky (Justin Baldoni), a free-spirited prodigal son who usually disdains family gatherings, but shows up at the last moment to share the voyage.
“I wanted the ship to sort it all out,” said Brolin at the red carpet premiere, which was held on board The Allure while docked in Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale.
And it does, against the striking background of the ship’s many attractions, including an ice skating rink, fine dining restaurants, loft apartments, the zip-line high above the deck and two FlowRider standing wave machines.
The amenities were not only a setting for the stories, but an after-shooting highlight according to the cast that took full advantage of the accommodations at every chance.
“I’ve been massaged everywhere,” said McCarthy with a wink, “and there’s no better massages than here on board The Allure.”
You can click on each photo to enlarge.