Fancy a cruise? Then all you need to do to get away from rain-soaked Britain is flick a switch, according to the TV ad for Carnival which will debut on our screens this Sunday.
If only it were as simple as that. And if only top ad agencies could come up with a convincing commercial without resorting to tired old clichés.
OK, the ad is intended to raise awareness of the Carnival name in the UK, where it is hardly recognised – in comparison to its homeland in the USA where it is the brand leader.
But is it really necessary to pigeonhole the UK as “a land of rain, queues and contra-flow systems”?
And when the ad’s participants are magically transported to the ship of their dreams, they appear to have suddenly become astronauts, with a voice-over referring to “One small step for mum, one giant leap for funkind. Houston, we don’t have a problem.”
Mind you, P&O Cruises – just like Carnival setting its on-screen price point at £599 – catches the cliché cold with its off-putting intro warning: “If you are prone to feelings of intense jealousy, look away now!”
The proposition they are promoting is a rather different one, promising comfort, style, fine dining, spectacular entertainment and total relaxation. Are you jealous?
Royal Caribbean’s ad features cleverly choreographed characters and a bouncy tune, though I wonder about song lyrics such as “I want to fly to the middle of the sun with you.”
The viewer is brought down to earth, however, with a shoal of on-screen caveats about age and height restrictions for on-board activities, an official-looking attribution for the assertion that “nine out of 10 guests would recommend us,” and a seemingly unnecessary voice-over about ATOL protection.
Saga Cruises’ ad from last year has been popping up on our screens occasionally as well. I can’t argue with the “I’m just a lucky so-and-so” song. But I’m not convinced the commercial makes its point successfully.
And nor do the others, in my view. But the proof of the pudding (there’s a cliché you didn’t use, Carnival) will be in the sales figures.
►The Carnival ad will be shown on ITV1 at 7.15, during Dancing On Ice and at 9.30 (Mr Selfridge); at 8.00 and 8.30 on Channel 4 (Come Dine With Me and The Hotel); and at 9.30 on Channel 5 (Celebrity Big Brother.