Today's reality show phenomena launched in 1992 with MTV’s “The Real World” and intensified in 1997 with CBS’s Survivor. It has since spun off some of the most iconic moments in modern U.S. pop culture covering everything from hair styling (Blow Out), motorcycle building (American Chopper), cheerleading (Making the Team), modeling (America’s Next Top Model), tanning (Sunset Tan) and a bar-tending (Coyote Ugly).
How much longer until there is a realty show that explores the interesting job of living and working aboard a cruise ship? Or, for that matter, becoming an employee with a cruise vendor such as spa services provider Steiner? Certainly there is interest among prospective viewers to support ratings and generate advertising revenues. A number of web-logs are written by on-board employees, at least two penned books (1) (2) and the Love Boat TV show was so popular it is often credited as helping launch the modern day growth of cruising.
A cruise line could even syndicate the program themselves, controlling content to maintain positive marketing images that would further promote cruise travel and employment recruitment.
We are now an amazing step closer to this “reality” with the debut an industry first, The Ultimate Ship Tour, "an exclusive opportunity to experience an array of 'back of house' areas that are key to a ship’s daily operations" aboard the Ruby Princess of Princess Cruises.
There are two other recent examples of very smart marketing partnerships related to the concept of cruise ship reality TV. Instead of bringing the realty of the ship to viewers, they bring the non-reality of the TV to the cruisers:
- Disney Cruise Line and Disney Channel's partnership to develop “Suite Life on Deck” a scripted live-action comedy series spin-off of the Emmy-nominated “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody.” It is filmed on the Disney Wonder. Maximizing marketing potential and buzz they are holding a special premiere at sea, where guests sailing will experience a Hollywood-style, red-carpet arrival of Disney Channel stars, an exclusive sneak-peek of the first episode and an opportunity to participate in a Q&A with stars of the show.
- Similarly, Royal Caribbean wisely partnered with Nickelodeon creating a themed cruise with the family friendly, highly rated cable channel. "On-board, Nickelodeon will provide families with such experiences as interactive game shows; meet-and-greets and performances by their favorite Nickelodeon stars; never-before-seen screenings and premieres of new, original Nick TV shows and movies.”
One can imagine the excellent marketing exposure within targeted audiences these types of partnerships provide. Very smart.
- Sail Away to a Magical Winter Holiday with Disney Cruise Line (cruisetalk.org)