Country Cruising, Radio, A Sunken Boat, And Google's DoubleClick Billboard

Country music artists Charlie Worsham and Trace Adkins gained at least one more fan last week -- me -- and they owe it to a cross-media advertising campaign designed by Flying Dutchman Travel Co-owners Ann Macker and Tracy Michaels.

The campaign spanning radio and Facebook, and search engine marketing and advertising attracted about 1,700 passengers on a seven-day excursion.

The campaign was not promoted through Twitter, says Macker, who along with Michaels, found some of the musical talent on YouTube. While their Twitter account, @countrycruising, has been dormant since 2014, a passion for music this year brought together Worsham and Adkins with Neil McCoy, Joe Nichols, Parmalee, Ray Scott, and many more. The incredible experience allows passengers to connect with artists on a more personal level. Macker and Michaels have pulled off three country excursions in about as many years.



Graham Bunn, the morning voice Monday through Friday at Go Country 105 in Southern California, says he put together about three months worth of radio spots for Country Cruising. Macker says radio advertisements pushed consumers to search for information on Google. AdWords drove searchers from the engine to the company's Web site. The cruises bring in new fans for the artists.

In a nutshell, Macker and Michaels are the brains behind Country Cruising. This year guests set sail on the Norwegian Sky for a seven-day cruise from Miami to Nassau, Key West, and Grand Cayman. The cruise also stopped at Norwegian Cruise Lines' private island, Grand Cayman Stirrup. (Here's a side note: While passing the cost of Cuba, we saw the wreckage of a sunken boat bobbing in the water.)

One thing missing from the campaign is Google's latest DoubleClick for out-of-home campaigns. The trial takes online advertising to the streets of London by serving up on digital billboards at multiple locations across the United Kingdom in real-time, similar to the way they would on the Internet. At this time it doesn't include programmatic ad buying.

The digital display serves local information, weather, and information on what people search for in the area around the billboard at the specific moment, not necessarily what the person who sees the billboard seeks, which would require the sign to read sensors transmitted by mobile phones.

Women made up about 60% of those purchasing and sailing on the Country Cruise charter, per Macker. The Flying Dutchman's latest country music cruise is one in about 150 chartered trips the company organized during the past 20 years.

Macker says the data from travelers on the ship belongs to Norwegian, which sits on a gold mine each time it sets sail. Think about it. Privacy advocates make noise about the data collected by Google and Facebook, but the cruise lines hold the key to everyday events of passengers on the ship. Keycards are used to board the ship and disembark; check-in to breakfast, lunch and dinner; and make a purchase such as an alcoholic beverage. Not only do they know the item the consumer purchases, but the exact time of day.

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