Because there’s no time like the first time

Carnival helps create fun and memorable first-time experiences for guests every day aboard their ships, whether it's riding a wave runner, parasailing above the Caribbean, or breaking into song with a waiter between courses at dinner. Unfortunately, most consumers aren't aware of what a cruise offers, or how a Carnival cruise compares to more familiar vacation experiences on land. With that in mind, we decide to awaken consumers to everything that is possible on a Carnival cruise, and bring those first-time experiences to cruise rookies everywhere, both online and off.

We began by declaring it a ‘Year of Firsts,’ and putting Facebook at the heart of our campaign. We assembled popular firsts and solicited our existing Facebook fans for their ‘bucket list’ favorites, whether part of the cruise experience or not. We built on this with a Facebook application that enables consumers to see popular items, create their own personal bucket list, and share it with friends and family.

More than 50,000 lists were created, and they were shared more than 15,000 times on Facebook news feeds. These lists became an easy and effective way for Facebook fans to introduce cruising to their friends. The campaign also played a major role in tripling the brand's Facebook following from 400,000 to more than 1.2 million fans in only 5 months, more than any other cruise line. Carnival kept things top of mind throughout the year on Facebook, and encouraged further participation by giving away a free cruise every month.

Carnival also celebrated consumers' real-life first-time experiences throughout the campaign. We honored selected fans’ firsts by featuring their accomplishments as our ‘Firsts of the Week’ – replacing them as Carnival's profile pic, and showcasing their first on the brand's Facebook page. In key markets, dozens of local consumers who had checked something off their bucket list also had the chance to star in a digital billboard, and share their first with their hometown for a month.


Arnold Worldwide, Boston


Carnival Cruise Lines


Concept Development, Creative Direction, Art Direction

Hey America, Didja Ever? ad campaign digital O.O.H. for Carnival Cruise Lines by Tom Morhous and Arnold Worldwide


To show consumers the power of first-time experiences, we took the campaign a step further with a veritable ‘Cruise of Firsts’ onboard a Carnival cruise. We recruited two families and two couples, all cruise rookies, and exposed them to a number of surprise firsts over the course of an eight-day cruise to the Caribbean.

Picky eaters tried new food. Kids went for their first snorkel. One nervous Dad sweat through his t-shirt while going on his first-ever parasail. Throughout, a lot of fun was had, and key aspects of the Carnival cruise experience, from accommodations to dining and entertainment, were highlighted. The resulting videos were shared with consumers on Facebook, and via online media on sites such as YouTube and Hulu.


Back on land, we furthered our goal to make firsts happen both in local markets and on national television. In Charleston, a key Carnival port, the brand sponsored the Cooper River Bridge Run, a popular annual race. With the support of local media and PR, Carnival held a contest seeking one lucky couple who was up for both running their first 10k race and getting married at the finish line. Two firsts, checked off in one go. Our winning couple, Tina and Andy, became the toast of Charleston, and we shared their story with the world via Facebook and online media. Their honeymoon was, of course, onboard a Carnival cruise.


To support the campaign, we also brought some of the firsts experienced onboard a Carnival cruise to O.O.H. and T.V., allowing consumers the chance to get into the spirit of trying something new. Placements in malls allowed consumers to set foot on a Mayan pyramid or escape underwater into a snorkeling excursion, as well as virtually demo aspects of the cruising experience for friends or family. The television also reinforced the power of first-time experiences for both families and couples. It also encouraged viewers to get involved on Facebook by responding to the question, ‘What have you always wanted to do?’

Hey America, Didja Ever? ad campaign O.O.H. for Carnival Cruise Lines by Tom Morhous and Arnold Worldwide