The World, a cruiser with luxury apartments costing up to around
pounds 3.5 million, is due to set sail in three years. If all goes to
plan the floating home for 700 or so wealthy seafarers will not stop but
sail from port to port. The PR challenge was to sell this idea.
To achieve maximum awareness and credibility of the cruise liner to a
targeted audience without too much advertising.
The team decided that raising awareness of The World by gaining
editorial coverage was the best way to meet their objectives. ’The PR
team felt heavy advertising would cheapen the product,’ says Bryn
Freberg, a senior adviser at Geelmuydem/Kiese. ’Journalists give
credibility,’ he says.
’They have integrity, so editorial is much stronger than an
advertisement which is paid communication.’
They targeted glossy lifestyle and property magazines, major European
and US newspapers. But the two-strong team were careful because they
were treading on new ground, says Freberg, who is working with Liv-Julie
Sordal, ResidenSea communications co-ordinator. The World is a unique
project, so there was nothing to compare it with. The campaign included
a brochure and presentation video with animated 3-D images and details
of the concept.
Freberg says ’PR need not always be a long-term strategy vehicle. In
this case it is also a tactical short-term one as every time we have a
hit with the media, people are getting direct-related leads and calling
us for details.’
Their approach to selling-in the story was successful, and they won good
coverage. The problem was that readers needed further information on
The team then decided to change tack on advertising. Advertisements were
placed in the Financial Times, but not on the same day as the articles
appeared. ’That could be seen as too pushy,’ says Freberg.
This campaign is truly international, and the team worked with New York
PR firm Lou Hammond. They are now looking to assign agencies in France,
Monaco, Spain, Portugal and Germany. ’We need advice on the ground and
lieutenants to fight local wars for us,’ says Freberg.
The PR team aimed for coverage of 100 features in the major media titles
in the half year to December 1997. They ended up with 1,200. This
included coverage on major broadcast networks such as the BBC and
Print coverage was heaviest in Europe and the US. It included articles
with pictures in the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Times, the Evening
Standard and the Daily Mail. US press coverage went from New York to Los
The decision to go with a PR-only campaign can pay off, but in this case
advertising was needed. Charles Weston-Baker, an agent with FDP Savills
which is selling the apartments says: ’The campaign could have done with
a little more global advertising. Press coverage gives more credibility
but there is a real need for advertising as a response mechanism for
people to obtain details.’
Having said that, a great deal of awareness has been obtained and 60 of
the 250 apartments have been sold. Whether advertising has helped or
hindered press coverage remains to be seen.
PR Team: Geelmuydem/ Kiese, based in Norway
Campaign: The World, a luxury non-stop cruiser
Timescale: June 1997 - ongoing