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Reaching new heights with Iona’s homecoming campaign


By Lucy Ryan

Reaching new heights with Iona’s homecoming campaign

Times are torrid for the travel industry. However, the arrival of P&O Cruises’ brand-new ship Iona heralded a positive new chapter, with prospects of a return to service in sight.

Iona’s arrival in the UK was delayed by a year so when she finally set forth from Germany, P&O Cruises wanted to shout about it from the rooftops. A day of Covid-safe celebrations was planned to welcome her home on Sunday 16 May, culminating in a star-studded virtual inauguration event.

Time for us to get to work.

Our brief was to deliver two far-reaching campaigns, running in parallel across social media platforms, before, during and after the event. Organic ‘#Ionaishere’ would target loyal guests while a paid campaign would break through to new audiences.

We divided each campaign into three phases, with a suite of bespoke assets for each. A week of posts before inauguration teased the launch and built anticipation. On-the-day live coverage engaged, celebrated and invited reaction with a heady mix of drone footage, live video edited on site of the ship and stars such as Gary Barlow, and pre-prepared UGC, including an ‘Ask the Captain’ video Q&A. Then a week of post-inauguration posts continued to build interest with sneak peeks and further reveals (organic) and competition-led destination, dining and entertainment posts (paid).

Ambitious targets were set. First, a do-able 12 million… but then, a gulp-worthy 24 million across the entire campaign.

And guess what? We smashed it. Out of the park.

  • 30 million people reached cumulatively across the pre, event day and post event phase
  • Of this, we reached just over 18 million newcomers
  • On average, our engagement rate hit 14.3%
  • Over 63,000 likes across the posts
  • 89 million impressions

The results were special. But more so was the emotional response to the campaign. There was an outpouring of love, support and hope from loyal guests, the communities that depend upon the cruise industry, the travel industry and everyone at P&O Cruises.

We were proud to be part of it and to ensure its success.