Cunard Line Limited

Author:Mark Lane

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24303 Town Center Dr., Ste. 200

Valencia, California 91355


Telephone: (800) 728-6273

Fax: (661) 284-4748

Web site:


The Cunard Line Limited boasted one of the cruise industry's most storied pasts, having carried the Royal Mail across the Atlantic for England before building one of the grandest and most respected fleets of passenger ships during the early twentieth century. The rise of passenger aircraft, however, all but eliminated the demand for transatlantic ocean travel, and by the turn of the millennium Cunard had a fleet of two ships, only one of which continued to travel the once-prominent route between North America and Great Britain. The world's largest cruise-ship company, Carnival Corporation, purchased Cunard in 1998; later that year Cunard announced its plan to construct what would be the largest and most luxurious passenger ship of its time, the Queen Mary 2. The ship was slated to make regular transatlantic voyages, which would be evocative of the golden age of ocean travel, as well as select Caribbean, South American, and New England cruises. To build awareness about the new ship preparatory to its January 2004 maiden voyage, Cunard enlisted the New York office of ad agency TBWA\Chiat\Day to helm a marketing campaign for 2003.

The campaign, budgeted at an estimated $8 million, began in spring 2003, with the intent of helping Cunard achieve full booking of Queen Mary 2's maiden voyage and 60 percent booking on the rest of the ship's 2004 trips. Because construction of the ship was still underway, TBWA\Chiat\Day could not showcase the product itself, so the campaign instead conveyed the idea that a Queen Mary 2 voyage was an event worthy of intense anticipation. Print ads used images of overdressed women in everyday situations, such as a stylish mother serving her children breakfast while wearing a ball gown, together with the "Can You Wait?" tagline. To enhance the ship's upscale allure, the brand names of luxury products and services to be featured on the Queen Mary 2 itself were included in the ads' copy.

The Queen Mary 2 sold out its berths by July 2003, approximately four months after the campaign began, and the occupancy goals for the ship's entire 2004 schedule of voyages were exceeded shortly thereafter. The campaign won a Gold EFFIE Award in 2004.


The Cunard Line was established in 1839 as a transatlantic carrier of the Royal Mail from Britain to Canada and the United States, and by the early twentieth century it had expanded to become one of the world's premier shipping lines. Cunard lost 22 ships during World War I, including the Lusitania, whose sinking by German U-boats while crossing from New York to

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Liverpool contributed to America's entrance into the conflict. Transatlantic shipping's golden age came in the 1920s and 1930s, and Cunard remained a major player in the industry, employing the well-known marketing tagline "Getting There Is Half the Fun" during those years. In 1934 Cunard's Queen Mary became the first vessel ever launched by a member of the British royal family, Her Majesty Queen Mary (wife of the then-reigning king, George V), and the Queen Elizabeth was unveiled in 1938, named for Queen Elizabeth, wife of King George VI, who had assumed the throne. Winston Churchill credited his country's enlistment of these ships during World War II with shortening the conflict by at least a year. By the 1950s Cunard carried one-third of all passengers crossing the Atlantic, but at the end of that decade...

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