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Carnival's Facebook Focus Helps Brand New Ship

  |  June 24, 2011   |  Comments

Cruise line runs interactive contest exclusively on the social site.

Facebook marketing execs Carolyn Everson and Sarah Personette have echoed each other in the past few weeks, saying their social platform can be the "underpinning of campaigns." It's a talking point that would likely strike a chord with Carnival Cruise Lines, which recently locked in on Facebook to brand its new ship called Carnival Magic.

carnivalWhile the Doral, FL-based company also budgeted Google ads into promoting the ship, Carnival saw Facebook as the campaign's hub. Early last month, it ran Facebook ads to drive support of a quiz-based sweepstakes initiative that involved 11 videos. The sweeps was only available on the social site; it didn't run on Carnival.com.

A video was unveiled every 30 minutes on May 1 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET via Facebook.com/Carnival. The pieces featured cruise director John Heald, who offered clues for the sweep's quiz.

In one example of the video content, he interviewed the Carnival Magic's captain, Giovanni Cutugno. In another, he answered three questions by Facebook "likers" about amenities on the ship. Viewers were then encouraged to answer a 10-question quiz about the videos. Those who scored 60 percent or higher were rewarded with a promotion code to enter into the sweep's giveaway opportunity, a seven-day cruise.

Carnival's marketing brass says they are happy with the level of brand engagement produced by the campaign, which was orchestrated by New York-based Facebook vendor Buddy Media. According to the companies, the effort saw 50,000 video views on Facebook in the first 24 hours. During the week of May 1, the initiative garnered 630 related comments, 5,000 quiz submissions, and 4,000 sweeps entries.

Stephanie Leavitt, Sr. manager of online engagement at Carnival, told ClickZ News that the "likers" mentioned in the aforementioned video posted fun comments below it. "We found the campaign to be a great way to reach out," she said. "With [cruise director Heald] actually calling out Facebook fans in the video, the viewers were one step closer, in our opinion, to getting on the boat themselves."

Eric Schechter, Carnival's social media manager, said his brand's team works on tying social and direct sales together, but sees Facebook engagement campaigns and e-commerce as having "different purposes."

For the May push, which had a "Big Reveal" theme, Schechter said, "We were interested in doing something unique. We thought it was really successful. People stuck around on the page."

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Christopher Heine

Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.

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