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Ship ahoy! Here are two postcards from cruise companies. They present an interesting compare and contrast opportunity.

CRUISE CARD ONE:

With summer waning and fall client work picking up, the Bs aren't terribly interested in the postcard we received from Royal Caribbean. But, the timing may not be the only problem.

Photography is, arguably, the most valuable asset we have when we're doing travel direct marketing. But, neither of these pictures is that compelling. The image of the Amalfi Coast (on the left hand side) appears a little too cloudy, almost stormy. And, biking is not the first thing we think of when we picture Barcelona (on the right).

The copy focuses on a compelling benefit: "Unpack once and see it all." Indeed, traveling by cruise ship offers you the convenience of bringing your hotel room along with you. But, the graphics don't support the headline. Where is the image of a comfortable cabin? Or even happy travelers not packing and repacking? (Oh, obviously, they are too busy biking.)

And, where is the picture of the ship?

On the back, the card promotes a $100 onboard spending offer and maps out two itineraries, with specific boats and prices listed beneath. But, are these great rates? They don't list a regular price or a percentage savings, so we can't tell.

And again, there seems to be something missing. Where is the picture of the ship?

We do give them credit for using some valuable real estate on the back of the card to advantage. The area directly above the address and indicia is a powerful place for offers and calls-to-action. So, well done there.

But, overall, the B's at B Direct give this postcard a thumbs-down. Cruise marketing without a picture of a ship feels a little washed up to us.

CRUISE CARD TWO:

Here's another solicitation from a different cruise company. For our vacation dollars, this one is more on the money.

First of all, there's that image we were missing! But the advertiser, Norwegian Cruise Lines, has taken it a step further. Not only do we know it's a boat, the way the photo is presented, we are already on the boat! (We do wonder if they have an alt image with a pair of man's feet for male recipients. How cool would that be?) 

So, this is a pretty hard-working postcard panel: offer (Free Upgrades), value (From $399) and emotional connection.

The other side continues the romance with a beautiful beach scene, blue skies, blue water, palm trees. Sign us up now!

The message side continues promoting the offer and encourages us to book early. Since we're already convinced, the list of destinations comes in handy. And, we have three ways to respond: online, by phone or through a travel agent.

Minor constructive criticisms: the reversed out body copy is difficult to read, and we wonder if any cards were delivered with bar codes or stickers across the call-to-action. We would have pushed the address and indicia area down and put the contact info above it. Other than that, the postcard is well done.

The B's at B Direct give this one a thumbs-up. Bon voyage!

To E or Not to E
Taking Stock

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