Princess Cruises Recasts Image

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Rest and relaxation was the dominant theme of Princess Cruises' direct mail piece that was sent last week to 300,000 previous customers and 50,000 of its travel agent partners in the United States and Canada.


The full-color foldout brochure -- which measures 8 1/2 inches by 5 1/2 inches when closed -- is contained in an envelope that features a prominent image of a person's toes resting on the end of a hammock and asks the question: "What do i want most?"


The brochure's front panel uses the same photograph of the resting toes that appeared on the envelope. The statement contained on the brochure's panel reads: "i want to take my shoes off for a week straight."


The theme continues as the toes appear again when the brochure is opened, but this time the photograph includes the full image of the relaxing vacationer in the hammock with the toes once again visible along with a lowercase "i" superimposed on the photograph. The copy included with this image reads:


• "i want to drink from glasses with tiny umbrellas in them."


• "i want to greet the sun from our balcony and put it to bed at night."


• "i want a dinner that's 3,000 miles from meatloaf."


• "i want to go back."


The lowercase "i" is meant to inspire past customers to treat themselves to another cruise, according to the company.


The back panel, which features a photograph of a cruise ship at sea, includes Princess Cruises' toll-free number and its bookings Web site, www.princess.com.


Also contained in the piece is a letter from company president Peter G. Ratcliffe thanking past travelers for their patronage. The bottom of the letter contains a tear-away coupon good for $50 in shipboard credit.


The firm built the list of past customers by offering passengers multiple opportunities to provide their information at such points as cruise check-in and checkout. Princess Cruises, Los Angeles, owns nine ships and carries more than 600,000 passengers each year.


"We are moving away from marketing to herds of people," said Todd Putnam, vice president of marketing at the firm. He added that the company plans to drop additional mailings throughout the year.


The mailing accompanies recent TV spots and travel magazine ads heralding the company's new slogan, "Princess ... where i belong."


Denise Seomin, public relations manager at the firm, said the direct mail, TV and print efforts have been designed to revamp the company's image. Princess Cruises has designed its newer ships to have additional dining and entertainment rooms. She said the rooms give passengers more options regarding when they can dine or watch performances.


Ratcliffe's letter mentions the option of "restaurant-style seating in the dining rooms on Grand Princess and Golden Princess" and soon aboard the entire fleet.


"It's time to refocus our effort in getting the message out there that we offer a more customizable cruising experience," Seomin said. "Societal trends show people do not want real regimented vacation experiences."


Also, the direct mail, TV and print campaigns mark the company's first major marketing effort since ending a 35-year relationship with former parent company Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co., London, a maritime logistics company, in October.
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