Royal Caribbean, steaming along as a distant second to category leader Carnival Cruises, acquired the more-upscale Celebrity Cruises in 1997, then took both the Royal Caribbean and Celebrity brands to the Super Bowl in 1998 -- and made them co-sponsors of the halftime show to boot. (The total cost of their Super Bowl XXXII activities was estimated at $5 million.)
Royal Caribbean’s ad ran before the halftime show, which that year included performers such as Boyz II Men and Smokey Robinson. Celebrity’s ad led out.
“At that time, the cruise industry was much less fragmented,” recalled Zimmerman CEO Michael Goldberg, who worked on the ad when he was partner at Harris Drury Cohen, which made Celebrity’s spot. To justify the pricing gap between Celebrity and its more mass-market parent Royal Caribbean, the brand and its agency set out to create a distinction in consumers’ minds, Goldberg said in an email. “The goal of initiative was to create a new segment in the cruise industry called ‘Super Premium’ between the premium ships (Holland America, Princess, etc) and Ultra Luxury ships like Seabourn and Cunard,” he said. “In other words, a mass with much more class. ‘Simply The Best’ was born.”
(Carnival would make its Super Bowl debut many years later, in 2015, with its high-concept “Return to the Sea.”)Send credit info to SuperBowlAdArchive@adage.com.