Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with this company. This post is for educational purposes only.
The Social Advantage
I find that there are many windows of opportunity for companies that use social media to their advantage. Social media is such a great way for people to connect with the brand and to learn about new sales, contests, important updates, really anything that the brand wants to release to the public. It also allows the brand to interact one on one with their followers to create a very personalized experience, which helps create brand loyalty.
This week, Carnival Cruise Lines requested a series of autumn-inspired promotions to be used this Fall on their social media accounts.
I had several ideas for Facebook cover photos that Carnival could use this upcoming season. I found this as an opportunity to utilize the Layer Comps feature in Photoshop in order give them different options to look at.
One of my first ideas was to incorporate a pumpkin somewhere in the design. Pumpkins tie in perfectly with the Fall theme and are one of the most well-known symbols of the Fall season. In order to figure out a clever way to tie in the pumpkin with the promotion of one of Carnival’s ships, a little research needed to be done. Something that stood out right away was Carnival’s witty, sort of sarcastic humor the simply makes you go “HA!”. So with that in mind, I knew I needed to come up with a “play on words” that fit the description. Paradise is the name of one of Carnival’s ships and starts with the letter “P” just like pumpkin. Paradise is also the “destination” everyone thinks of when going on a cruise. With one simple phrase, all these individual elements were tied together in a witty/sarcastic fashion that fit with Carnival’s way of advertising. These elements are also represented visually in a way that is pleasing to the eye and strengthens the overall design and IMC of the campaign.
The autumn season is also known for the wind blowing leaves off the trees. With that concept, I wanted leaves to look like they were blowing out of the smoke stack of a ship, and I decided the ship to promote would be the Carnival Breeze. Again, the play on words kills two birds with one stone and ties all the individual elements together. One extra element I added was the tagline “Let the autumn breeze sail you away” and through different blending options I was able to portray movement that strengthened the feel of wind being present.
Fall season is carnival season. Starting at the end of summer and continuing through the end of fall, almost every major city puts on a family fair. And since fairs and carnivals are associated with “fun”, “merriment”, “family-time”, I felt this concept really tied in well with Carnival’s corporate tagline “Fun for all. All for fun.” The complete idea is visually represented through the “Carnival Ferris Wheel” graphic with the smoke stack fin used as the wheel support tower of the ferris wheel itself. This promotion is not specific to any cruise ship in Carnival’s fleet. Instead, it is a general promotion for the company as a whole.
Through what I have created so far, I feel that a Facebook timeline photo and Facebook profile image can be easily created. An idea for the profile picture would be to combine the line drawn ship element and flowing leaves or pumpkin in a way that gets the general message across for the season. This photo would be graphic reliant with no words due to its size. The timeline photo could be a combination of a tropical background or sunset image with other autumn related elements, excluding the leaves and pumpkin, with promotional text to advertise an exclusive contest to win 25% off cruising fares.
Designing a cover photo for Twitter took more caution with placement of graphics. Both Facebook and Twitter overlay their profile pictures in the bottom left portion of the cover photo, but unlike Facebook, mobile devices affect where the profile picture is displayed on Twitter. This forced me to keep important information and graphics away from the left and center of the cover photo, and because I was so limited, I decided to keep the design extremely simple. Carnival has a tendency to switch out images of real photos with images of designed graphics on all of their social media accounts. This gave me the opportunity to use a real life cruise photo to do all the enticing while simply adding a fall related element to go with the fall season promotions. Simply taking the pumpkin and surrounding it with a few leaves gave it the autumn feel that was needed.
The Instagram overlay was fun to design. Combining a few of the flowing leaves with the line drawing of the ship created the look I wanted. I also experimented with the pen tool in Photoshop and created a small banner that would serve as a space for promotional text to tie the whole design together. Below the image of the overlay I created is an example of an Instagram image with the overlay applied.
Other Social Media Channels
Two other social media channels that I feel would work great for Carnival Cruise Lines are Pinterest and YouTube. They could utilize Pinterest by posting pictures of promotions, contests, their cruise ship fleet, images captured on different islands, pictures from excursions, you name it! And each category can be a different board that people can follow. YouTube could also be a great way for Carnival to advertise new cruise locations, new ships being added to their fleet, etc. by compiling clips to create “trailers”. This would help draw people in more and create more excitement.
A couple design elements I used to create a sense of integration across all social media channels were the line-drawn ship, blue and red color bars, the Carnival fin, Carnival colors, and font choice along with the use of the same fall elements throughout. I also made sure that simplicity and tropical/ocean images were implemented in the designs in order to keep with the practices that Carnival already has. I feel that using these same practices and incorporating elements from Carnival’s website really helps lend to a visually cohesive IMC campaign that can be seen even today.
As time consuming as this project was, I found it extremely fun and educational. Working with specific parameters and limitations taught me how to keep my designs more simple and how to cohesively get a message across in a minimalistic fashion. It was also eye opening to really see and be away of what social media can actually do for a company.