Route to Recovery for 2022

What was the brief?

When Covid-19 stopped travel, all cruise plans naturally went on hold. Reigniting the guests’ joy of sailing and driving advance bookings was key to Cunard’s business recovery. How to do this in a way that spoke to a premium audience with hugely diverse mindsets was our challenge.

What was the strategy?

Our strategy was to give our guests permission to daydream again; to connect them with their love of adventure and inspire them to look forward whilst recognising and addressing their fears. To stand out for the quality of our communication just as we stand out for quality of service.

What was the campaign solution?

We wrapped all the adventure of the seas, the luxury of the ships, and the customer service Cunard are known for up in a gilt-edged, tissue-wrapped DM experience. An Invitation to Exploration – beautiful enough to sit on a coffee table as customers browsed, planned and ultimately booked their trip.

What were the results?

A strong return to the seas – over £2m incremental revenue attributed to the DM resulting in a 25:1 ROI, and unprecedented organic positive sharing on social channels from an audience usually reluctant to do so.

Campaign in Detail


With a worldwide travel pause behind us, we knew the market was going to be flooded with travel reactivation communications. This campaign needed to cut through and secure that business-crucial booking.

Our audience are not digital natives, preferring DM to other channels. We identified our audience as a mixture of past bookers, warm prospects and those who had cruises cancelled, so the task seemed simple enough.

Until we spoke to guests.

We heard loud and clear that the pandemic had stirred a wide range of feelings towards cruising and travel in general. From concerns around safety, apprehension about future cancellations, frustration from previous cancellations and worries about an altered experience, to those who just couldn’t wait to get back on board again – so many different and conflicting mindsets that are impossible to segment on a database.

We identified one universal truth that united them all. In the wake of the pandemic, guests were looking for permission to daydream. Our strategy was to give them that permission, knowing that Cunard had their hopes and fears covered.

The challenge was to create a piece of communication that would seduce them back to their love of sailing with us and help them remember why they fell in love with it in the first place. It needed to work hard to calm the troubled waters of their minds that Covid had created without being able to predict what their specific attitude and fears were, all whilst standing out on the doormat.


‘Permission to daydream’ was a wonderful strategic platform. No matter what mental barriers Covid-19 had put up, we knew we could connect guests with their love of luxurious travel and innate sense of adventure, whilst navigating them through a sea of concerns.

Delivered through their letterbox was our Invitation to Exploration. Gilt-edged, on heavy stock, and worthy of a place at the Captain’s Table – this beautiful piece inspired guests to look ahead with positivity. It reminded them of the reasons they loved to travel with Cunard and encouraged them to start dreaming about their next voyage.

They were invited to dive into a luxurious brochure, layered with tissue, where 20 pages of stunning destination photography awaited. The whole package was held together with a branded belly band. Such carefully considered layering ensured a slow reveal as recipients unwrapped the pieces and served as a reminder of the brand’s reputation for exceptional quality.

This pack was something they could hold firmly in their hands, pore over with a partner and have the time and space to indulge in their daydreams of their next voyage whilst reassuring themselves that Cunard had everything taken care of.

Full-bleed photography created a sense of vast space and adventure, which contrasts evocatively with the sense of small that lockdown created.

The tone of voice was reassuring yet inspiring, and the attention to detail throughout echoes Cunard’s service ethos. A clear and concise CTA left them with no doubt that we wanted them back on board.

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