Faaez Samadi
Sep 1, 2016

Storytelling for dreamers: How Dream Cruises seeks to make its mark

Moving away from traditional cruise vacation branding, Dream Cruises vice president Eric Leong said the company’s push for a bold, creative approach is grounded in hard data.

Storytelling for dreamers: How Dream Cruises seeks to make its mark

Reimagining the cruise holiday was the key thinking behind the innovative new campaign to launch Dream Cruises' first liner, said Eric Leong, vice president of brand marketing and communications.

As Asia’s first luxury cruise line, Leong said Dream Cruises is eager to define its brand as more than a standard cruise tour, to cater for China and Asia’s growing wealthy population.

This thinking resulted in artwork from Chinese pop artist Jacky Tsai on the hull of its first ship Genting Dream, and a video advert charting the love story between a mermaid and an astronaut, for the liner’s launch.

“We adopted a bold and memorable storytelling approach, breaking away from traditional brand commercials in the sector that invariably present a cruise ship video tour,” Leong told Campaign Asia-Pacific.

While it may seem a risky move to diverge so dramatically from the norm, Leong said the decision was made following much data analysis of Dream Cruises’ consumers.

“In developing the brand and our expression of it, we conducted extensive analysis of the target market, our consumers, their culture and our own perceived strengths,” he said. “We employed a combination of third-party research and statistics, combined with more qualitative, on-the-ground, research to better understand the culture and context which our brand inhabits.”

Leo Burnett China was responsible for the brand campaign and meeting Dream Cruises “unapologetically” high standards for creativity , Leong (pictured) said. “As with all new relationships, there is an initial learning phase then an acceleration phase where things really start to click. Trust takes time to build, but once earned, the agency has had the freedom and support to deliver outstanding work.”

Leong is keen for Dream Cruises to come flying out of the traps because he recognises that while the brand is Asia’s only luxury cruise liner, it will not be for long.

“Simply put, we face the challenge of being a new entrant into the market. Although the cruise market is still relatively nascent in China, competition is heating up very quickly with new builds being introduced and ships being refit for the market, together with corresponding advertising and media investment,” he explained.

“As a result, the need to define and establish a unique brand, in the eyes of both the travel trade and consumers is critical. It is important for us to deliver a unique and compelling proposition in the market and avoid being seen as ’just another cruise line’.

An integrated marketing strategy is crucial to the brand’s vision, and Leong said Dream Cruises has a multi-channel approach encompassing outdoor, traditional and online platforms.

“Digital and social media plays a key role in not only supporting our creative-advertising initiatives, but also in helping to educate, inform and inspire the consumer,” Leong said. “Going forward we will be looking to build critical mass around our online platforms, so that we develop a community of ‘dreamers’ that we can begin establishing a long-term relationship with.”

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