Modern Marketing Awards Case Studies Brand Strategy

How Virgin Voyages relaunched the Scarlet Lady cruise liner post pandemic


By Awards Analyst | writer

December 8, 2022 | 4 min read

One Green Bean for Virgin Voyages won at The Drum Awards for PR 2022 for Best Integrated Campaign. Here, we find out how the agency executed the ‘Holy Ship! She’s here: Introducing Scarlet Lady’ PR campaign.

Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady

Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady

Virgin Voyages' new cruise liner the Scarlet Lady was unveiled in 2020 but the pandemic took the wind out of its sails quite literally. Virgin tapped One Green Bean to reintroduce the ship in 2021 and deliver the message that cruising was the safest way to travel.

The brief

At the start of the pandemic, cruise ships were making headlines as floating Covid contraptions. Unfortunately for the sector even after lockdowns eased consumer confidence was on the floor and the path to recovery was slow.

To be ready for when cruising returned to some normality, Virgin Voyages wanted to relaunch the Scarlet Lady and generate some buzz around the ship. Virgin also needed to rebuild consumer trust in cruising a show it as a safe way to travel.

The Idea

To execute the strategy One Green Bean ran an on-ship broadcast day connecting spokespeople with journalists and hosted media sailings trips. The likes of Good Morning Britain and This Morning were invited on board for a live broadcast. For global coverage, Virgin hosted CNBC, Cheddar, and BBC World News.

Over the course of six weeks, Virgin Voyages hosted more than 40 journalists on board the Scarlet Lady sailing up and down the English Channel, including The Times, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, and VICE.

After the press had their tour customers were given a first-person drone tour on a carefully curated pathway through the ship.

The results

The media campaign reached an estimated 4.5bn people globally with 157 pieces of coverage. 90% of the coverages were positive reviews, with headlines such as “A sassy voyage to remember”, “The wave of the future” and “Virgin Voyages cruise is truly game-changing. One Green Bean also managed to land the Virgin's key message that the ship was safe.

Virgin was particularly proud of a review from the youth publication Vice, which wrote: “What the Scarlet Lady cruise does offer is the type of immersive, experience-led holiday that is marketable to more and more millennials”,

The was a 500% uplift in searches for Scarlet Lady on the day after launch, with no other channel activated. The ship's maiden season also sold out.

This campaign was a winner at The Drum Awards for PR 2022. You can see all the winners here. The Drum Awards for Marketing are currently open for entry. Find out how you can enter now.

Modern Marketing Awards Case Studies Brand Strategy

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