Fred. Olsen – Cruising up the awareness rankings


Key Points

  • Fred. Olsen needed to reinvigorate their unsustainable ‘problem port’ in Scotland
  • Total Media proposed a shift in focus from their historic use of DRTV to a more brand focused two-month sponsorship in STV
  • The campaign played a major part in 2018 being Fred. Olsen’s ‘best year ever’ in terms of number of cruise sales.

The Challenge

In 2018 Fred. Olsen was rated the 10th best cruise liner in the world by Which? despite this, poor sales over several years had meant that their port in Scotland had become a ‘problem port’ and was on the verge of closing down.

In an attempt to prevent this and to appeal to a wider audience, Fred. Olsen decided to increase the number of routes from the port, but simply adding the new routes was not enough, with a modest budget, Fred. Olsen had to find a sustainable way to support and promote the port in order to sell enough cruises to keep the port open.

There key objectives were:

  • Grow passenger booking in Scotland by 10% to make the ‘problem port’ in Scotland a long-term viable option for Fred Olsen to continue running cruises from
  • Build trust in Scotland with the Fred. Olsen audience, ABC1Ads55+ in TV demographics, to prove that Fred. Olsen is the cruise brand for them
  • Continue to grow awareness amongst the Scottish audience

The TV Solution

Fred. Olsen have never used brand activity on TV before.  This existing approach would therefore make it difficult for Fred. Olsen to maintain awareness in Scotland and crucially drive sales.  In order to meet the business objectives Total Media had to come up with a solution that was different to anything that Fred. Olsen had done before.

Learnings taken from various research resources including Thinkbox’s ‘Get with the Programmes’ helped Total Media arrive at the conclusion that a well-executed sponsorship would be a viable, cost effective and sustainable solution.  Using Scot Pulse surveys, Total Media identified that STV would be the best environment to help Fred. Olsen

Total Media developed a sponsorship with STV that would build awareness and trust of Fred. Olsen and provide access to those relevant dayparts, across the most important sales period of the year (January and February).  Working with Fred. Olsen and STV, Total Media cam up with the tagline ‘Escape the Winter Blues and get closer to the action with STV sponsored by Fred. Olsen’.

The Plan

‘Escape the Winter blues and get closer to the action with STV sponsored by Fred. Olsen Cruises’ launched on New Year’s Day.

The sponsorship gave Fred. Olsen great access to a daytime audience who may be familiar with Fred. Olsen due to their previous DRTV activity, as well as presence in 4 peak programmes – a daypart which was completely new to Fred. Olsen.

This was coupled additional DRTV on the STV2 channel which Total Media had negotiated to be included as part of the package.  The activity in Scotland was part of a full funnel approach with the sponsorship sitting at the top of the funnel, with additional press partnership to give further information to the audience, and a significant amount of biddable and display activity running at the same time to effectively capture demand.


  • Fred. Olsen more than doubled their % increase booking target for the Scotland port
  • Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines (FOCL) was mentioned by over 1 in 4 unprompted – meaning their unprompted awareness in Scotland was second only to P&O Cruises 
  • Fred. Olsen deemed the sponsorship to be so much of a success they tasked Total Media to negotiate a deal to extend it to run for the rest of 2018.
  • Fred. Olsen went onto have their ‘best year ever’ in terms of number of cruise sales

With a significant growth in capacity sailing from Edinburgh  we needed to rapidly build and sustain positive awareness of our brand with our target audience. As soon as our sponsorship on STV launched we saw an uplift in interest and a challenge was turned into a success. In 2018 our Scottish departures were the most successful part of our entire programme and we believe our TV sponsorship was key in achieving this.

Justin Stanton Sales and Marketing Director at Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines


Sector: Travel and Tourism

Brand: Fred. Olsen

Campaign objectives: To increase awareness and drive bookings for their Scotland Port

Target Audience: ABC1Ads55+

Budget: Less than £100,000

Campaign Dates: January – March 2018

TV Usage: Sponsorship

Media Agency:  Total Media

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