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From the 12th Annual Shorty Awards

Carnival Cruise Line: Island Hoppers

Entered in Branded Series

About this entry

Our main objective was to drive consideration of Carnival Cruise Line as the ultimate vacation amongst those who are new to cruising by creating a storytelling platform that deeply connects with consumers.


We were tasked with channeling Carnival’s creative platform, #ChooseFun, while engaging those who are new to cruising with content that would highlight all that Carnival has to offer.   

Why does this entry deserve to win?

The barrier with the key target is tied to common misperceptions of cruise vacations - food quality, lack of appealing activities and crowding, for example.  This insight, paired with the knowledge that entertainment and comedy are passion points for our potential cruisers, provided an opportunity for Carnival to debunk myths and highlight brand strengths via a content series.  Seamlessly integrating onboard amenities, hardware and key excursion activities, we created the first ever reality comedy competition at sea.


We leveraged storytelling, entertainment, and comedy to drive consideration of Carnival Cruise Line.  We integrated Carnival’s newest ship, Carnival Horizon, to demonstrate all that Carnival has to offer onboard and the multiple destinations you can visit during your vacation – all while crafting stories that couldn’t exist without the brand.  This allowed us to highlight cruising in a way that was funny and upbeat, in line with Carnival’s brand voice.  We tapped into relatable talent, including James Van Der Beek as the host, to help us showcase all that a Carnival cruise has to offer on and off board in this unique content series, Island Hoppers. 


We emphasized social distribution for our episodes and cutdowns, including Youtube, Facebook and Instagram.  In addition, we surrounded with our brand and cobranded media, driving to a custom interactive microsite with the full episodes. We expanded our reach to a linear audience with an OTT/FEP extension with Discovery to allow for us to reach our audience wherever they were!


Island Hoppers is the first ever reality competition show at sea, where three up-and-coming comedians compete for a spot on the roster at Carnival’s Punchliner Comedy Club onboard the Carnival fleet.  In the continued spirit of #ChooseFun, host James Van Der Beek challenged contestants to be their most fun(ny) selves through interactive challenges and comedy routines, while highlighting activities our target audience could take part in while onboard and at destinations. Veteran Punchliner comedians added their hilarious commentary when judging the contestants.


From preparing a set while crafting custom cocktails at Carnival’s Alchemy Bar, to competing in a dance-off with Carnival’s professional dancers (and James Van Der Beek, of course), to a scavenger hunt in Mexico, the competition was fun and light-hearted.  At every step of the competition, comedians took viewers along for the ride with our ship and destinations woven into the story.  All of this culminated in the grand finale where contestants had to perform in front of Carnival guests onboard  to determine the ultimate winner(s).  In true reality fashion, there’s a surprising twist at the end. 


Our main objective for this content marketing program was to increase consideration and we accomplished that.

According to a Millward Brown study, the episodic series drove a statistically significant increase in consideration and brand favorability. The campaign drove a statistically significant increase in perception of vital brand attributes (Carnival offers a Fun Vacation, has Excellent Quality Food and Dining, is Great for Families and Children, and has Opportunities To Have the Most Fun Time), all crucial to driving consideration within our target. 

Despite the fact that our content was 6-8x longer than the Thrillist average branded content, our VCR was ~1.8x higher than their benchmark!


Video for Carnival Cruise Line: Island Hoppers

Entrant Company / Organization Name

The Content Collective, PHD Media, Group Nine Media, Discovery, Carnival Cruise Line


Entry Credits