Cruise Ship Industry Campaign Uses Stories to Revamp Public Image

The Cruise Lines International Association recently launched the “We Are Cruise” campaign, which uses stories and videos to share the personality of its industry.

The Cruise Lines International Association is hoping to upend public misunderstandings of the industry with its campaign “We Are Cruise.”

“There can be a misperception that cruises just come into destinations for a few hours and leave,” said Sarah Kennedy, director of public relations for CLIA. “We’re hoping #WeAreCruise shows that when we’re in an area, it’s not just us swooping in and bringing a big ship.”

The campaign includes videos of employees talking about what they do in a bid to personalize the industry, which some perceive as impersonal and corporate. Cruise ship disasters exacerbate those misperceptions, with everything from poop-filled voyages to stranded cruise liners making headlines.

The personal stories CLIA cultivated for the campaign are aimed at reminding customers that a cruise is about both the destination and the journey. The association has been shooting videos for several months and used the #WeAreCruise hashtag earlier, but the campaign officially kicked off this month at the Seatrade Cruise Global conference.

“Underneath the research, statistics and economic impact reports, there are stories. Stories about real people, their families, their livelihoods and how cruise travel benefits entire communities in unique ways,” Kennedy said. “These are the narratives that define the cruise industry and need to be told by the people that are at the positive end of what the industry means to them as individuals.”

In one video, a physicist turned piano tuner living in Barcelona discusses how much the waves cause the piano go out of tune, making his job a busy one. Another video shows a lobsterman in Maine discussing how important cruise ship tourists are to his business. CLIA wants the cruise industry to be seen as helpful to the communities they visit.

“As an industry, we must ensure the destinations we visit are thriving and vibrant,” Kennedy said. “We therefore have a duty and desire to work with destinations to preserve their unique heritage and character and we hope these videos help tell that story.”

While the campaign is a partnership between CLIA and Seatrade Cruise Global, CLIA members have been involved in helping the organization find people willing to share their stories. “We are working with our members to find unique stories to tell, whether that’s someone internally that works for our industry, or an individual’s story to capture and share at an individual level how the cruise industry creates opportunities and supports people around the world,” Kennedy said.

CLIA says it will consider the program a success if it achieves broader awareness and positivity about the cruise line industry. “We’re really trying to tell the whole story of cruise, and we think that story is so well told by the larger cruise community,” Kennedy said. “The hope is that ‘We Are Cruise’ captures the stories of people who know and benefit from cruising so that we can tell that whole story.”

A scene from a clip in the “We Are Cruise” campaign. (CLIA)

Rasheeda Childress

By Rasheeda Childress

Rasheeda Childress is a former editor at Associations Now. MORE

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