Skift Take

Carnival's non-Olympics Olympic ad makes clever use of the games without having to invest heavily in an official sponsorship relationship with the International Olympic Committee or Team USA.

What can a brand do when the Olympics are on the way but the budget doesn’t have room for a eight- or nine-figure endorsement?

Create an advertisement that captures the spirit of the games, but just don’t mention it by name. [Advertisement embedded below]

Carnival Cruise Lines has a new ad featuring the “Chariots of Fire” theme song, four young boys, a waterslide, and a dramatic play-by-play announcer that describes their tandem run down one of the cruise line’s onboard WaterWorks slides.

The ad runs with the disclaimer “Unless you’re a professional bobsledder, only one person may go down the slide at a time.”

Travel Weekly reports that Carnival’s ad will be the only cruise-themed ad running during the Olympics on the NBC network of stations that are carrying the games. This allows the brand to ‘own’ cruising during the Games’ broadcast without splashing out to become an official sponsor.

While the stations will run a 30-second version of the ad, a 60-second version is available on the cruise line’s YouTube channel.

Among its peers, Carnival has one of the more aggressive strategies on social media in general and YouTube in particular. It only lags behind sister company Princess Cruises when it comes to total views on the video-sharing website, while ranking seventh in the total number of videos it has uploaded, according to SkiftIQ.

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Photo credit: A still from Carnival Cruises' bobsledding advertisement. Carnival Cruise / YouTube

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