Carnival 'Bobslides' Into Olympic Sponsorship

The long arm of the Olympics can stretch all the way onto a cruise ship, it seems. 

As the national exclusive cruise line advertiser for NBC’s broadcast of the Winter Games, Carnival Cruises is launching a new marketing campaign timed to take advantage of the two-week event, as well as its high winter booking season.

The campaign, from Arnold Worldwide, launches on Thursday with a new television spot in which a group of cruise-traveling children race down one of the cruise line’s water slides à la bobsled team. Approaching the slide in slow-motion, the group is greeted by high-fives and followed by stares, as the theme from “Chariots of Fire” plays. An announcer, sounding like a sportscaster, proclaims the foursome a “team to beat,” as they take their places and join hands and feet for a ride down the slide together. Following the twists and turns of the slide (with cowbells ringing), the group reaches the bottom with hands in the air. “That was a run for the ages,” the announcer proclaims. 

“The Olympics draws a very broad audience who anticipate the excitement and spirit of sport. This is the ideal audience for Carnival, who is all about inclusive, fun and memorable moments,” Don Lane, executive director and managing partner of Arnold Worldwide, tells Marketing Daily. “The ‘Bobslide’ spot captures the kind of memorable moments that happen every day on Carnival's ships. We felt there was no better environment to celebrate these amazing moments and communicate our tagline, ‘Fun for all. All for fun.’”

The commercial will run on NBC and affiliated networks throughout the Olympics, and will also appear in theaters, where moviegoers can enter a sweepstakes using the “Shazam” app on their phone. 

In addition to the video campaign, Carnival’s Olympic-timed marketing campaign will also be heavily involved in social media, including an Instagram contest where consumers can win prizes by posting photos along a designated theme (“best sand vs. snow image” or “best game face,” for instance), videos on its YouTube channel about how to create warm cocktails (developed by the cruise line’s mixologist) to combat winter weather, and videos of its crew members (who hail from more than 100 countries) cheering on their home teams.

“Carnival’s social platforms are a very important connection between the brand and its guests,” Lane says. “In this case, we’re using social to engage Carnival’s fans by tapping into their natural behavior of multi-screen consumption and their inclination to share their memorable moments and participate in the water cooler talk around the games.”

Carnival will also sponsor Yahoo Sports’ “Memorable Olympic Moments” hub, with ads that encourage fans to “get ready to cheer for fun that unites us all” and “make memories worth replaying.”

“The Carnival cruise experience is all about bringing people together for memorable moments,” Lane says. “The Yahoo hub is a perfect environment to present the brand and share in the participatory spirit of the games.”

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