P&O Cruises is being forced to divert a chunk of this year’s &£11.5m marketing budget to support the Aurora when the crippled ocean liner returns to service in March.
P&O Cruises, owned by Carnival Corporation, suffered a media catastrophe when the planned “voyage of a lifetime” round-the world-cruise for 1,759 passengers was called off at the weekend following engine trouble, costing the company an estimated &£20m.
P&O Cruises brand marketing manager Philip Price says passengers retained goodwill towards the company and there is no need to boost the ad budget this year. But he adds: “However, we will need to do a lot more with the Aurora when she comes back into service – we will do something specifically on her to welcome her back.”
The company has not pulled any advertising and a January television campaign featuring the P&O Cruises brand strapline “P&O Cruises. There’s a world out there” keeps running until next week.
P&O Cruises will refund all passengers and offer a 25 per cent discount off bookings for next year.
The Aurora, which occasionally hosts the Marketing Forum, also hit the headlines in 2003 when 500 passengers fell ill as a result of a stomach virus (MW November 6, 2003).
Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy won the P&O Cruises advertising account after a pitch in 2001 against Bartle Bogle Hegarty, Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO and Publicis (MW March 15, 2001).