I just finished a webinar with Norwegian and have to say I am favorably impressed with their new approach, at least from a marketing perspective. The line is spending a lot of money on this, with an advertising blitz over the next 5 weeks including ads on top network TV shows such as NCIS and Dancing With The Stars.
Further, their goal is to nurture a community of "Norwegians" who are brand loyal, promote the brand to others, and feel a sense of belonging. I know that must sound sinister to some, but Norwegian has always struck me as being behind the curve as compared to RCI and Carnival when it comes to cultivating brand loyalty.
Freestyle will remain but not be the main emphasis that it has been. Their research showed that people new 'freestyle' better than the name of the cruise line, so now they plan to emphasis 'Norwegian' and use freestyle to compliment it.
This probably explains the telephone message we received from Norwegian on Friday. We sailed the Norwegian Wind in Hawaii in 2004..... they're calling me now to invite us to Sail Norwegian again..... it only took 7 years...
I'm not sold on the "Cruise Like a Norwegian" tagline. One of the writers I follow suggested "Cruise Internationally on Norwegian," which I like a lot. Norway left NCL a long time ago (and I'm not talking about the ship).
I can understand why they dropped the Freestyle tag, though. Even though many lines are copying the concept (part of which originated on Princess, anyway), it's still viewed as a negative by many I know who haven't been on the line for years.
Susan, how I loved Norwegian Wind! We were onboard for a southern Caribbean cruise out of San Juan in the mid-1990s, pre-stretch, when she was known as Windward. All that aft deck space, whether enclosed or outdoors, must have made for beautiful sailing through the islands.
Andy Stuart (Executive VP) was asked if there would be confusion about the "Norwegian" thing and he said their research showed "people get it" and know what it means as opposed to the nationality aspect. We'll see. That is one part I wonder about too.
I didn't realize it had been over 3 years since the company had any TV advertising.
You know, I really want to like Norwegian Cruise Line. I'll admit they have turned me off for many years for some reason, yet I do want to cruise with them after the new corporate persona is rolled out.
I can attest about the Freestyle advertising campaign not being effective for brand recognition. My Mom was considering cruising with me once on Carnival. She asked if they had the Freestyle cruise. I said no, it is Fun cruising. Carnival later added Your Time Dining taking a page from Norwegian. It has been a huge success for Carnival. Carnival will never be known for Your Time Dining though. Their advertising has always been brand intensive. The famous funnel spins and the ship's horn blows at the end of every commercial. Most folks remember whose commercial that was. This could work well for Norwegian to get the cruise line's name more memorable.
Lisa - I had forgotten that the Wind used to be the Windward. That was my parents' favorite ship... It would have been nice to have sailed her before the stretch - - the stretch really interferred with the traffic flow. People would cut through the show lounge instead of going up/down to get from side to side. But one still got the "essence" of the older grand ship.
As for the "Freestyle" branding - this was our first and only experience with the "Freestyle" concept, and I have to say I really did NOT like it. There were always tables being bussed and reset all around us during our dining time ... not to mention the standing in line to wait for a table issue. I felt like I was waiting at Furr's cafeteria for dinner..... At any rate - I'll look forward to seeing the new commercials and see if they can tempt me away from HAL...
I sailed on either the Windward or her sister, Starward, around 1988, before the stretch, and liked it a lot. Then again, that may have been the last time I sailed on NCL.
I'm not a fan of "Cruise like a Norwegian." My first response is, "How does a Norwegian cruise?" It conjured up images of Vikings, not necessarily what one wants to associate with today's cruise experience. I do connect the slogan with the nationality, and not the brand, maybe because I know Norwegians.